Disinfection spraying tunnels for Covid-19 not advisable, says Diversey
Chemical disinfectants are not meant to come into contact with the eyes, be inhaled, or taken in through the mouth. They are strictly for external use only.
With the novel coronavirus spreading to over 210 countries and territories worldwide, affecting 39,74,036 people and resulting in the loss of 2,76,007 lives by the last count, organizations and institutions have begun to consider the risk posed by the public, especially asymptomatic carriers — people with no visible symptoms — of entering a public building, such as a retail store or a healthcare facility.
Many facilities are anxious to provide some measures to tackle the situation in order to address the risk of Covid-19 and one proposed solution has been to spray people with a disinfectant solution before they enter a building or area.
Diversey — a global leader in hygiene and infection prevention solutions — is not in favour of the practice of direct spraying of disinfectants on humans, or animals, to contain the spread. Not only is it ineffective, but it can also cause serious health risks to people with or without Covid-19 infection.
Chemical disinfectants are not meant to come into contact with the eyes, be inhaled, or taken in through the mouth. They are strictly for external use only. And using disinfectants in this manner can have negative health outcomes, which is an unacceptable risk given the intended benefit.
Downside of disinfection spray tunnels
Lack of efficacy: Only a hard, non-porous surface can be disinfected in this manner; soft surfaces, such as clothing, cannot. This is unlikely to be significantly effective against virus traces on the person’s skin or clothing. Some disinfectant stations apply a fine mist to clothing. This may make the clothing damp, yet not likely to impact the viral load on it
Health and safety risk: Powered-spray devices create small droplets (<20 microns), spraying of which brings significant risk from inhalation, besides contact with the eyes and skin. This can cause inhalation into the deep lung tissue, resulting in a negative health outcome. No disinfectant has been assessed for exposure to the general public through such applications. The chemical is meant only for external use. Manual application methods — such as hand-pump trigger sprayer, pre-wetted disposable wipes, cloth and bucket, pre-wetted reusable cloth — are typically recommended for safe usage of the products/disinfectants, more commonly known as sanitizers.
Virus presence not addressed: People infected with SARS-CoV-2 will still carry the virus in secretions in their upper respiratory tracts and saliva. Applying disinfectant to the skin does nothing to address the large reservoir of virus an infected person carries inside his/her body.
Diversey’s proposed solutions
Regulate a single-point entry: "To have moderated movement for crowds is necessary to ensure that the influx of infection, or infected people, can be monitored. Provision of hygiene stations that dispense self-disinfection solutions, such as sanitizers and such personal-protection gear as masks — and even gloves and goggles — is a must. Whether there are any symptoms or not, it’s advisable to stop all kinds of respiratory transmission between people. Social distancing is of the essence and it’s highly recommended that fewer people be allowed to gather at one point. This considerably reduces communication and transmission of the virus," says, Himanshu Jain, President, APAC Diversey.
According to LC Das, Managing Director-India and Subcontinent, Diversey India Ltd, "Handwash stations should be easily accessible with provision of soaps and sanitizers where people can follow the measures more frequently and easily. Reminders and communication for practising these measures should be reinforced to increase the general awareness around personal hygiene."