June 24, 2021

CDC: Disinfecting surfaces, often for show, can bring more harm than good

In this April 20, 2021 report for CNN, Virginia Langmaid expounds on a recent notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying that obsessively disinfecting surfaces may be doing more harm than good.

In a CDC-sponsored telephone briefing, Vincent Hill, Chief of the Waterborne Disease and Prevention Branch, said, “CDC determined that the risk of surface transmission is low, and secondary to the primary routes of virus transmission through direct contact droplets and aerosols”.

Hill adds, “Disinfecting surfaces is typically not necessary unless a sick person or someone positive for COVID 19 has been in the home within the last 24 hours”. Cleaning surfaces using soap or detergent should be enough and should be focused on high-contact areas such as doorknobs and light switches. Hill says that frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces has minimal impact on viral transmission and contributes to “hygiene theater”.

Hill also says that the disinfectants themselves pose a risk. He says, “Public inquiries indicate that some people may purposely drink, inhale, or spray their skin with disinfectants, without understanding that use of disinfectants in this way can cause serious harm to their bodies.” Hill cautions against the use of bleach to wash food products and says that the science for alternative surface disinfection methods such as ultrasonic waves, high-intensity UV radiation, and LED blue light has not been fully established.

Editor’s Note: We knew as early as April 2020 that there is no need to disinfect groceries and other surfaces [see Will disinfecting your groceries protect you from COVID-19?]. Why did it take CDC this long to discover this?

With this new MIT study, can we now please stop the obsessive use of alcohols and hand sanitizers? We think that offices should also be banned from spraying disinfectants on their visitors.[1]Some offices in the Philippines have disinfection tents where all visitors are required to pass through.

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1 Some offices in the Philippines have disinfection tents where all visitors are required to pass through.

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