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Daily News Blog

31
Oct

EPA Opens Door to Indoor Air Contamination with Virus Spray, Efficacy Questioned

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2022) Just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a request for information on improving indoor air quality, it approved 32 varieties of a new “air sanitizer” to kill bacteria and viruses in the air. These products contain 14% dipropylene glycol and 86% secret (“other”) ingredients, including fragrances.

Tell EPA that clean air, NOT “sanitized” air, protects against disease.

Through its approval of such sanitizers, EPA promotes the false reasoning that a chemical that kills a pathogen necessarily protects health. Although disinfectants and sanitizers kill viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, they can also negatively affect the immune system, thus reducing resistance to disease. People who have a preexisting condition or are of advanced age, who may have a weakened immune or respiratory system, are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Children are at elevated risk from exposure. When managing viral and bacterial infections, chemicals that exacerbate the risk to vulnerable individuals are of serious concern.

EPA opened a 60-day public comment period “to solicit information and recommendations from a broad array of individuals and organizations with knowledge and expertise relating to the built environment and health, indoor air quality, epidemiology, disease transmission, social sciences and other disciplines.” EPA’s request for information says it is “seeking input . . . about actions, strategies, tools and approaches that support ventilation, filtration and air cleaning improvements, and other actions that would promote sustained improvements in indoor air quality in the nation’s building stock to help mitigate disease transmission.” A new, airborne pesticide for indoor use is the opposite of what is needed.

Although dipropylene glycol, the active ingredient in the newly-approved air sanitizers, is considered less toxic than other chemicals, it may cause more problems when inhaled. These products contain 86% secret ingredients, including fragrances. Fragrances are known to trigger adverse respiratory effects.

Efficacy and creating a false sense of security is also of serious concern. The label directions instruct users to spray the chemical for 30 seconds and leave the room empty and closed-up for 12 minutes. Given that airborne viruses are being constantly introduced and reintroduced into public spaces, such as stores, schools, restaurants, and public spaces, the virus may continue to be transmitted through indoor air unless there is adequate ventilation and filtration. So, in this public context, a sanitizer application to an indoor space only protects against the target virus as long as the building is not used by the public.

EPA should focus its efforts on methods of providing increased ventilation without introducing additional chemicals into the indoor atmosphere. Ventilation with clean fresh air has been shown to reduce exposure to airborne viruses.

This action requires you to post a comment to Regulations.gov. Follow this link and type or paste in a comment. A suggested comment can be found below.

Suggested comment to EPA:

I am concerned that EPA’s request for information on improving indoor air quality coincides with the approval of 32 varieties of a new pesticide (“air sanitizer”) to kill bacteria and viruses in the air. These products contain 14% dipropylene glycol and 86% secret (“other”) ingredients, including fragrances.

Through its approval of such sanitizers, EPA promotes the false reasoning that a chemical that kills a pathogen necessarily protects health. Although disinfectants and sanitizers kill viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, they can also negatively affect the immune system, thus reducing resistance to disease. People who have a preexisting condition or are of advanced age, who may have a weakened immune or respiratory system, are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. When managing viral and bacterial infections, chemicals that exacerbate the risk to vulnerable individuals are of serious concern.

EPA seeks “input . . . about actions, strategies, tools and approaches that support ventilation, filtration and air cleaning improvements, and other actions that would promote sustained improvements in indoor air quality in the nation’s building stock to help mitigate disease transmission.” A new, airborne pesticide for indoor use is the opposite of what is needed.

Although dipropylene glycol, the active ingredient in the newly approved air sanitizers, is considered less toxic than other chemicals, it may cause more problems when inhaled. These products contain 86% secret ingredients, including fragrances. Fragrances are known to trigger adverse respiratory effects.

Efficacy and creating a false sense of security is also of serious concern. The label directions instruct users to spray the chemical for 30 seconds and leave the room empty and closed-up for 12 minutes. Given that airborne viruses are being constantly introduced and reintroduced into public spaces, such as stores, schools, restaurants, and public spaces, the virus may continue to be transmitted through indoor air unless there is adequate ventilation and filtration. So, in this public context, a sanitizer application to an indoor space only protects against the target virus as long as the building is not used by the public.

EPA should not approve “air sanitizers” with the false hope of controlling bacteria and viruses in the air. EPA should focus its efforts on methods of providing increased ventilation without introducing additional chemicals into the indoor atmosphere. Ventilation with clean fresh air has been shown to reduce exposure to airborne viruses.

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14 Responses to “EPA Opens Door to Indoor Air Contamination with Virus Spray, Efficacy Questioned”

  1. 1
    Karen Mashburn Says:

    Adding poison to the air that all living things breath is irresponsible. It’s counter productive. “Although disinfectants and sanitizers kill viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, they can also negatively affect the immune system, thus reducing resistance to disease.” I am constantly assaulted in public places and friends’ homes and automobiles with “fragrance” and disinfectants that trigger immediate asthma and nasal issues and most probably longer term health problems. We live in a snow globe. What my neighbor does affects me and what I do affects my neighbor. We need to be aware of the dangers and do everything we can to put a stop to the air pollution instead of adding to the problem.

  2. 2
    Christine M Phillips Says:

    I am concerned that EPA’s request for information on improving indoor air quality coincides with the approval of 32 varieties of a new pesticide (“air sanitizer”) to kill bacteria and viruses in the air. These products contain 14% dipropylene glycol and 86% secret (“other”) ingredients, including fragrances.

    Through its approval of such sanitizers, EPA promotes the false reasoning that a chemical that kills a pathogen necessarily protects health. Although disinfectants and sanitizers kill viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, they can also negatively affect the immune system, thus reducing resistance to disease. People who have a preexisting condition or are of advanced age, who may have a weakened immune or respiratory system, are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. When managing viral and bacterial infections, chemicals that exacerbate the risk to vulnerable individuals are of serious concern.

    EPA seeks “input . . . about actions, strategies, tools and approaches that support ventilation, filtration and air cleaning improvements, and other actions that would promote sustained improvements in indoor air quality in the nation’s building stock to help mitigate disease transmission.” A new, airborne pesticide for indoor use is the opposite of what is needed.

    Although dipropylene glycol, the active ingredient in the newly approved air sanitizers, is considered less toxic than other chemicals, it may cause more problems when inhaled. These products contain 86% secret ingredients, including fragrances. Fragrances are known to trigger adverse respiratory effects.

    Efficacy and creating a false sense of security is also of serious concern. The label directions instruct users to spray the chemical for 30 seconds and leave the room empty and closed-up for 12 minutes. Given that airborne viruses are being constantly introduced and reintroduced into public spaces, such as stores, schools, restaurants, and public spaces, the virus may continue to be transmitted through indoor air unless there is adequate ventilation and filtration. So, in this public context, a sanitizer application to an indoor space only protects against the target virus as long as the building is not used by the public.

    EPA should not approve “air sanitizers” with the false hope of controlling bacteria and viruses in the air. EPA should focus its efforts on methods of providing increased ventilation without introducing additional chemicals into the indoor atmosphere. Ventilation with clean fresh air has been shown to reduce exposure to airborne viruses.

    I am am Sensitive to Chemical and Synthetic/Chemical Fragrances. This could make more places unsafe for me to be in.

  3. 3
    Erin Says:

    Anything with fragrance can aggravate asthma, allergies, and cause debilitating illnesses like allergic contact dermatitis to fragrances and Balsam of Peru. They are also known to have hidden carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Considering the EPA has a fragrance free policy and their facilities, it is somewhat amazing that they would even consider allowing them in places like hospitals and medical facilities. There are many other safer alternatives like germicidal lights on the HVAC system.

  4. 4
    Melanie Kutnick Says:

    This makes no sense. It’s putting a bandaid on a problem instead of fixing the problem. Also, there is unintended consequenses.

  5. 5
    Lynn Ricci Says:

    My heart hopes that the right thing is done so that ALL living can live their life.❤️❤️

  6. 6
    Leslie Richardson Says:

    Clean air not sanitized air protects against disease

  7. 7
    Joyce Stoffers Says:

    Prevention makes far better sense rather than poison!

  8. 8
    Dr. Stacey McRae Says:

    Keep products vegan!!

  9. 9
    David Pedersen Says:

    The fact that the EPA is even CONSIDERING allowing pesticides and other “sanitizing” chemicals to be sprayed indoors is an absolute travesty. Not only does it fundamentally contradict the agency’s moral and legal duties, but it also will not accomplish its purported objectives (in fact, it will likely do the opposite). The agency has already dragged its feet on air pollution for far too long – be it diesel exhaust in the Inland Empire, or wood smoke in Alaska’s valleys. They must stop promoting these pseudoscientific “treatments” and follow the science and take real and immediate action to ensure every person in America has clean air to breathe. Anything else, including failure to do so, is a crime against humanity and nature.

  10. 10
    Rita Pesini Pesini Says:

    Please help those of us that these products actually harm!

  11. 11
    Maria Says:

    I’m grateful for those who created these actions.

  12. 12
    Maria Says:

    Please keep our air, AIR.

  13. 13
    Maria Says:

    Shelve the pesticides.

  14. 14
    Jean T Saja Says:

    EPA should not approve “air sanitizers” with the false hope of controlling bacteria and viruses in the air. EPA should focus its efforts on methods of providing increased ventilation without introducing additional chemicals into the indoor atmosphere. Ventilation with clean fresh air has been shown to reduce exposure to airborne viruses.

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