After Trump's comments, Lysol maker warns of 'improper use'

Thanks to Donald Trump, Lysol's manufacturer has to remind people not to poison themselves.
Image: Disinfectant
Disinfectant products on a store shelf. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)Jeff Greenberg / Universal Image via Getty Images

Almost immediately after the coronavirus outbreak began in the United States, hand sanitizers disappeared from shelves. As homemade recipes started making the rounds online, a Texas-based vodka company found it necessary to remind consumers that their product was not a suitable substitute and would not be effective in protecting the public.

The statement made a fair amount of sense, in large part because there were rumors circulating, and the public wasn't necessarily sure how best to proceed.

Nearly two months later, society hasn't progressed quite as much as some of us had hoped. Now, it's Lysol's manufacturer issuing a statement on its product, not because of online scuttlebutt from confused consumers, but because the president of the United States raised the prospect of disinfectant "injections" from the White House podium yesterday.

"As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)," said a spokesperson for Reckitt Benckiser, the United Kingdom-based owner of Lysol, in a statement to NBC News. "As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information," the statement continued, adding that the company believes it has a "responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts."

Lysol's manufacturer did not explicitly reference Donald Trump, but given the circumstances, it didn't have to.

For its part, the White House argued this morning that the president's comments have been taken out of context, and he didn't actually suggest that Americans inject themselves with cleaning products.

What Trump did say, however, was that disinfectant can "knock out" the virus "in a minute." He added that he's interested in research that would determine whether there's "a way we can do something like that by injection inside -- or almost a cleaning. As you see it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."

Ideally, we'd have a wise and responsible president, leading with a steady hand during a deadly crisis, showing great caution before going to the public with dangerous nonsense. But since we have Donald Trump, statements like the one from Lysol's manufacturer are emblematic of what our lives are like now.