I pulled into my favorite restaurant the other day and I saw a “Closed” sign on the door.“That’s weird”, I thought,“They’re never closed on Saturdays.” I pulled out my phone and searched on Google. “Permanently Closed” was displayed. Another small business that couldn’t survive through Covid-19.
Small business is the heart of this country and we cannot afford to lose it. The coronavirus has already taken over 150,000 businesses from us. Two-thirds of those that have survived until now are concerned they will have to close if there is a second wave of COVID-19 . We cannot let this happen. They must be allowed to reopen and they must reopen in a way that makes employees and customers feel safe and happy to be back.
Responsible business owners (and other facility managers) are trying their best. They understand that customers and employees are the drivers for their success. They are willing to go the extra mile to ensure they are not risking anyone’s health and safety. Most are encouraging or requiring social distancing and facemasks. And they are using a lot of disinfectants. What they don’t know is that one of these measures is actually doing more harm than good.
In the rush to disinfect due to the pandemic, many well-intentioned people have unknowingly used harmful chemical sprays to disinfect their buildings. They are told that these disinfectants are “EPA Approved,” or “Hospital Grade.” These designations speak only to effectiveness, however, not to human safety. Moreover, these chemicals were never meant to be sprayed in the volume and with the frequency that they are being used. Most are not meant to be used on porous surfaces such as curtains, carpets, upholstered furniture, or wood. Health experts are worried about the effects.
Scientists at Indiana University recently conducted research on common chemical disinfectants. They found that the increased use of chemical disinfectants is “concerning as exposure to these compounds has been associated with adverse effects on reproductive and respiratory systems.”
Unfortunately, health issues caused by exposure to chemical disinfectants will likely outlast the pandemic. Claudia S. Miller, an immunologist, allergist and professor emeritus at the University of Texas, explained that she does not think it’s smart to be “exposing people to disinfectants on top of this risk of having a virus infect their lungs.”
The problem goes beyond business. We are currently returning millions of children to the classroom. Recently, teachers at the Union County Public Schools in North Carolina brought to light that the chemical disinfectants they were instructed to use were clearly labeled “HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS.” This is a particularly egregious example of doing harm by not thinking things through—but bad decisions are being made because people feel the need to do something.Chemical disinfectants are all they know.
We need to reopen schools. But shouldn’t we keep our kids safe from germs and harmful germicides?
The ray of light in the situation (literally) is ultraviolet disinfection. Unlike chemical disinfectants, UV disinfects a facility effectively and efficiently without any toxins or chemicals. Therefore, there are no long term health issues.
Using ultraviolet light to disinfect is not a new concept.In fact, the bacteria killing properties of UV light were first mentioned in the July 12, 1877 issue of Nature. For decades, UV light has been used in hospitals to disinfect operating rooms and other areas where infection can spread.
Covid-19 is a new disease, but in June scientists at Boston University validated UV’s effectiveness against SARS CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes it.
UV disinfection therefore offers a safe and effective alternative.
This pandemic has already taken too many lives, and too many of our beloved small businesses. UV disinfection offers a better solution for opening schools and businesses without causing long-term health concerns.If you would like to find out more, contact.