Home test for coronavirus? Here’s why you should keep pets away

COVID-19 self-test rapid antigen tests authorized by Health Canada for purchase and use by the general public contain very low amounts of ingredients that are potentially harmful in larger quantities.

The concern is highlighted in a Facebook alert from the Australian Animal Poisons Helpline about dogs ingesting test buffer solutions containing sodium azide, a highly toxic preservative. The organization said the amount in the individual tests is “very low” and “unlikely to pose a significant risk” in the majority of cases.

“The actual risk of poisoning in each individual case will depend on the amount of sodium azide ingested and the weight of the animal involved,” the Facebook alert reads.

“Very small animals, or animals that ingest a number of vials of buffer solution could possibly be at risk of poisoning.”

Other antigen tests contain ProClin 300, a different preservative which also comes with safety warnings.

There are 29 antigen testing devices authorized by Health Canada as of January 24, 2022, the majority of which are classified for laboratory or point-of-care use. Eight of the 10 devices approved for self-testing are antigen tests. The federal agency defines self-testing devices as those that can be purchased and used by the general public.

Online product literature contained ingredient warnings, but Canadian versions of instructions for use found for some of the tests did not mention sodium azide or ProClin 300. Health Canada did not immediately respond to questions. regarding potentially harmful ingredients in RATs.

BinaxNOW and Panbio, COVID-19 antigen self-tests made by Abbott, both contain sodium azide, according to documentation posted online by the company that contains warnings about the chemical. BD Veritor from Becton Dickinson and Co. and CovClear from Empowered Diagnostics also contain sodium azide warnings. BinaxNOW says it contains 0.0125% of the chemical, while Panbio and BD Veritor say it contains less than 0.1%.

All four have varying levels of warnings in user documents found online that state sodium azide is a harmful chemical that can be toxic if inhaled, swallowed, or exposed to the skin. If the solution comes into contact with the skin or eyes, the instructions advise users to flush with plenty of water. If disposed down a sink, some users ask to flush with a large volume of water, with CovClear explaining that this is to prevent azide buildup as the chemical can react with lead and copper plumbing that forms highly explosive metal azides.

According to user documents posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, the Ellume home test, Quidel Corp.’s Quickvue, and SD Biosensor Inc.’s self-test, which are also authorized by Health Canada, contain ProClin 300.

Warnings vary from mild skin and eye irritation to stronger advisories. Quickvue, which says it contains a 0.03% concentration of ProClin 300, and Ellume note that the ingredient is harmful if swallowed or inhaled and causes severe skin burns and eye damage, while ‘Ellume also notes that it is highly toxic to aquatic life and has long lasting effects.

Orasure Technologies’ InteliSwab states in a document posted on the FDA’s website that its solution contains Triton X-100 and Proclin 950, which are “potentially harmful chemicals,” but lab studies indicate they are non-toxic at the levels contained in its test. .

The Canadian instructions for CovClear and SD Biosensor Inc (distributed by Roche Canada) do not list any potentially hazardous ingredients, but CovClear instructs users to flush with plenty of water if the Flush Buffer solution comes in contact with skin or eyes. The SD Biosensor does not contain any warnings or precautions regarding the solution.

with files from CTV News