Microbiologists disputes spraying of disinfectants in public places

6 May 2020 12:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Sandun A Jayasekera

The Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists (SLCM) yesterday scoffed at the use of decontamination chambers and spraying of disinfectants in public places to minimise the spread of Covid-19 virus, saying these chemical disinfectants can have various adverse effects on humans.   

Even if a person is infected with the COVID-19 virus, spraying the external part of the body does not kill the virus inside the body and may worsen the clinical condition of the individual, the SLCM stressed.   


“For alcohol or other disinfectants to be effective, they need to be present in adequate amount for a given period of time (contact time). The nature of chambers does not sufficiently provide this. We strongly advise that spraying on individuals or groups is not recommended under any circumstances. Spraying an individual or group with chemical disinfectants or detergents is physically and psychologically harmful and does not limit the spread of COVID-19,” they added.   


In a paper released after a study on the issue, the SLCM further said that the SLCM strongly advises that spraying of individuals or groups is NOT recommended under any circumstances. Spraying an individual or group with chemical disinfectants or detergents is physically and psychologically harmful and does not limit the spread of COVID-19. Even if a person is infected with the COVID-19 virus, spraying the external part of the body does not kill the virus inside the body and may worsen the clinical condition of the individual.” For alcohol or other disinfectants to be effective, they need to be present in adequate amount for a given period of time (contact time). The nature of chambers does not sufficiently provide this.   


“Firstly, we would like to bring to the attention of the public on “decontamination chambers”. There are many offers to donate these to hospitals and other public places, including the Ministry of Health. Many places have installed these chambers at their entrances/exits, making it mandatory for everyone to walk through them. These chambers contain various agents to spray on people including alcohol, chlorine compounds, ozonated water, soapy water and Ultra Violet (UV) radiation. We would like to draw your attention to the views of the World Health Organization (WHO) on this practice.   


 According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ozone to be effective in destroying harmful bacteria, it must be present at a concentration above levels considered safe for humans.   


The main mode of transmission of COVID-19 is by contaminated hands touching the face (eyes, nose, mouth ). Therefore, what needs to be done is to sanitize hands rather than try to sanitize the whole body in order to prevent transmission of this virus. Action of alcohol and other chemical disinfectants in these chambers is unlikely to achieve this function. Further, there is a significant fire hazard and there is wastage of alcohol and other disinfectants in large quantities when used inside these chambers, when they can be put to much better use in preparing hand sanitizers and for environmental disinfection in healthcare and other high risk environments.   

 

  • Spraying an individual or group with chemical disinfectants is physically and psychologically harmful

 

 

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