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Health Canada Warns Public Of Risks With COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Solutions

COVID-19 rapid antigen test solutions could possibly cause harm if misused, Health Canada said.

Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
Hands holding a covid-19 rapid antigen test and a tube with liquid.

Hands holding a covid-19 rapid antigen test and a tube with liquid.

Health Canada has issued a public advisory regarding the use of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests. The advisory warns about the potential risks of accidental ingestion or skin exposure to antigen test solutions.

Health Canada issued the advisory following an increase in reports to poison control centres, leading them to advise Canadians about the potential risks regarding misuse or accidental consumption or spillage of COVID-19 rapid antigen test solutions.

While Health Canada has determined the COVID-19 testing kits to be both safe, effective, and beneficial for self-testing, they said the testing kits can lead to the potential exposure to hazardous substances when not used as intended.

"Many test kits include liquid solutions with chemical preservatives, such as sodium azide and Proclin that may be poisonous if swallowed or absorbed through the skin, particularly in children and pets," Health Canada said.

The government department indicated that while accidental ingestion of or skin exposure to small quantities of the liquid solutions is not expected to cause serious effects the way larger doses would, it may still cause effects in small children and pets.

Health Canada is currently aware of approximately 50 calls made to poison control centres in Canada related to accidental exposure to the COVID-19 rapid antigen test solutions, and are advising Canadians on a "precautionary basis to help mitigate the risks associated with misuse, accidental ingestion or skin exposure," they said.

Health Canada says to keep the solutions out of reach of children and pets, to not swallow the solutions, and avoid eye and skin contact. Canadians should thoroughly wash their hands after use, and if any spillage occurs, rinse well with water.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Mike Chaar
    Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
    Mike Chaar is an Assistant Editor for MTL Blog focused on recalls in Canada and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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