Toxic chemical found in many COVID-19 at-home test kits; What to know

DAYTON — The COVID-19 tests that you probably have in your cabinet, could contain a toxic chemical.

Two months ago as the country was seeing a spike in COVID cases, many were testing at home.

This led to the discovery that some of these take-home tests contain a poisonous chemical.

The poison called is called Sodium Azide and across the country, drug and poison centers are seeing an uptake in calls about exposure to the substance.

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With more than 50 million households in the United States receiving COVID take-home tests, and more to be shipped out this week, the number of calls are expected to increase.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that Sodium Azide is a colorless, tasteless and odorless substance.

It can be found in car airbags and is used for pest control.

A small amount of the chemical, like that found in test kits, can produce some symptoms like cough, dizziness, rapid heart rate and skin burns and blisters, according to the CDC.

But how big of an issue can this cause for someone if it gets on their skin while doing an at-home test kit?

“Patients that have maybe splashed them on them or their skin, we’ve managed pretty much all those cases at home with minimal or no side effects,” Natalie Rine, with the Ohio Poison Center in Columbus said.

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While many are fine, there have been reports of people receiving chemical burns on their skin after being exposed to the substance.

Because of this, Rine suggests keeping it out of reach of children and in a locked cabinet.

Once done with the kits, Rine suggests that your wrap them up and dispose of them as soon as possible.

For more information about Sodium Azide and what to do if exposed visit the CDC’s website.