Chlorine Dioxide Used in Hualien Public Places 水霧機噴二氧化氯害健康 花蓮多處仍用

Some commercially available chlorine dioxide used as disinfectant may cause harm to the human body. But, the chemical is still being used in public places, such as Hualien's Tungtamen Night Market. 

Hualien's Tungtamen Night Market is diligently carrying out epidemic prevention and disinfection. In addition to the contact registration system, all visitors must pass through this disinfection door at entrances and exits that will spray chlorine dioxide. Everyone dared not to pass through the disinfection mist after hearing an elementary school student inhaled the mist, resulting in pneumonia.

Huang Chia-ming, Chairperson, Tungtamen Night Market: “We've been using this mist for over a year now. And now with the epidemic situation in Northern Taiwan, we will probably ask for guidance from the county government.”

Many public places in Hualien also use atomizers and chlorine dioxide for disinfection. Some county councilors became allergic after passing through the mist, and immediately felt strong irritation in their eyes, nose, and throat. They found that chlorine dioxide is an environmental disinfectant after some research.

Wei Chia-yen, Hualien County Councilor: “The manual for chlorine dioxide says it's used to only sterilize items, not humans. Then, with the atomizer, will it cause an allergic reaction if inhaled into the human body?”

Hualien County Government said that it is still verifying with the Central Government whether chlorine dioxide can be used on humans, but first, it will change the chlorine dioxide solution in Tungtamen Night Market to alcohol. All county government agencies and schools will strengthen the message that chlorine dioxide cannot be used. However, the County Government still hopes that the Central Government will formulate measures so that the local government will have a basis to follow.

Hsu Chu-an, Director, Commercial Management Division, Hualien County Tourism Department: “We just decided to stop it immediately. We'll switch back to alcohol and strengthen hand disinfection.”

Weng Chun-min, Deputy Director, Department of Education, Hualien County: “I hope the Central Government can clarify this as soon as possible and give the local government guidance on correct usage.”

The Environmental Protection Agency stated that chlorine dioxide is currently not approved for continuous spraying by atomizers in the country. The EPA promises it will require manufacturers to give clear warnings, while the public should pay more attention to how it is used in order to avoid harm.