Many Popular Hand and Surface Sanitizer Create New Problems...
With the pandemic being front and center in everyone’s life, hand and surface sanitizers became front and center as well. We already know that frequent contact with chemical disinfectants is linked to various health problems. Now this constant exposure is becoming a problem or risk to almost everyone. A few months ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released "List N," which lists about 400 disinfectants that meet the EPA's criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2. To meet the criteria, the disinfectants must demonstrate effectiveness against a harder-to-kill virus or demonstrate efficacy against a human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2. Safety- that’s a different and unexamined issue.
According to exposure scientist Lesliam Quirós-Alcalá, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "This (approved list) doesn't mean that they're considered safe with regard to human health.” Asthma and other respiratory conditions, reproductive challenges, neurological and dermatological problems are some of the health risks related to these harsh chemicals. We know this from studies done with workers who have high exposure to cleaning chemicals. Nurses, for example, in the hospital setting were 25%-38% more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Now everyone has exposure to active and toxic ingredients such as glutaraldehyde and quaternary ammonium compounds, found in the EPA approved sanitizers. Some of the studies of professional woman cleaners using these types of products revealed they had respiratory health similar to someone who smoked a pack of cigarettes daily for 10-20 years.
The EPA recommends very frequent disinfecting of spaces and surfaces exposed to or touched by multiple people. These are very common surfaces such as door handles, faucets, light switches, tables and desks, shopping carts, various types of keypads after every use. In the healthcare setting, one director stated that they are cleanings public spaces like lobbies and elevators 6-8 times a day and restrooms every 2 hours.
Immunologist and allergist Dr. Claudia Miller sums up some of the concerns when she says, "Cleaners tend to go in with hugely toxic chemicals. We're creating another problem for a whole group of people, and I'm not sure we're actually controlling infections."[xi]
And even more alarming is the increasing use of aerosolized disinfectants because spraying allows an easy way to cover far more space quickly. However, most of these approved disinfectants have not been approved for aerosolizing, misting or fogging. Plus, the risks of aerosolized disinfectants have not been explored and there is a legitimate concern that spraying the chemicals poses increased inhalation risks, as it generates micro-particles and possibly even smaller nanoparticles, which are absorbed into the body faster and in greater quantities than larger particles.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns against spraying disinfectants, saying, "In indoor spaces, routine application of disinfectants to surfaces via spraying is not recommended for COVID-19. If disinfectants are to be applied, these should be via a cloth or wipe which is soaked in the disinfectant." Despite this, industrial cleaning companies are moving to use spraying technologies once reserved for hospitals in school busses.
You may not be able to avoid toxic exposure when you are in someone else’s public or even private space, but you can avoid using toxic chemicals in your own home and workspaces and maybe in the spaces of others that you can influence. Ultraviolet technology, if used correctly can be much safer and you can make or buy non-toxic disinfectants. I do both. I use essential oils and alcohol to make my own sanitizing wipes, sprays, cleaning products and soaps. And I spend less than $7.00 for doTERRA’s sanitizing mist- a spray that naturally protects against environmental threats. I carry it with me everywhere- totally non-toxic protection for the air around me, on surfaces I have to touch and for my hands that do the touching. If you would like some DIY recipes, or would like to get your hands on this great spray or your own collection of effective essential oils