EcoWaste Coalition Cautions Consumers against So-Called “Virus Protector” Product Banned in PH and Other Countries

The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition has cautioned Filipino consumers against an unregistered product that deceptively claims it can keep SARS-CoV-2, the dreaded virus that causes COVID-19, at bay.

The group issued the warning after finding a product called “Virus Shut Out” being offered for sale by retailers in Divisoria and Quiapo, Manila.  The so-called “virus protector,” costing P80 to P250 per pack, is made in Japan according to the labeling information written in Japanese characters.

“Virus Shut Out” product contains a small sterilization packet with string and is worn around the neck like a badge or ID.  The packet may contain chlorine dioxide, a bacterial disinfectant that should not be used near the face.

“We advise consumers to be extra careful and discerning when buying health products with unsubstantiated claims that are too good to be true,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Wearing this sterilization card may only give you a false sense of security against COVID-19,” he said.

“To protect yourself and others around you, wash your hands often with soap and water, wear a face mask, practise physical distancing, clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly, stay home if you feel unwell, and get medical attention if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing,” he pointed out.

Last May 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through Advisory No. 2020-852 warned against the deceptive promotion and marketing of “Virus Shut Out” and other disinfectant and biocide products that claim to cure or kill viruses and bacteria.

Prior to this, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in March 2020 announced that it has prevented several shipments of unregistered “Virus Shut Out,” whose “safety and efficacy against viruses have not been evaluated.”

Vietnamese and Thai government authorities have likewise taken action against the illegal sale of "Virus Shut Out," confiscating the unregistered "virus protector" from dealers. 

According to the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “chlorine dioxide is a very reactive compound,” warning that “if you were to breathe air containing chlorine dioxide gas, you might experience irritation in your nose, throat, and lungs.”

“Most people will not be exposed to chlorine dioxide or chlorite in amounts large enough to damage other parts of the body, but if you were, you might experience shortness of breath and other respiratory problems because of damage to the substances in blood that carry oxygen throughout the body,” the ATSDR said.