Some suppliers and cleaning contractors are advising their clients to use environmental fogging to disinfectant office environments against COVID–19. As of 19 March 2020 there is no advice published by any public health department that indicates that environmental fogging is an acceptable disinfection technique for COVID-19.
Clients are advised to carefully research claims made by suppliers and contractors in relation to disinfectants and disinfections procedures. The US CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) has a specific stance on fogging chemical disinfectants:
“CDC and HICPAC have recommendations in both 2003 Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities and the 2008 Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities that state that the CDC does not support disinfectant fogging. Specifically, the 2003 and 2008 Guidelines state: 2003: “Do not perform disinfectant fogging for routine purposes in patient-care areas. Category IB”
2003: “Do not perform disinfectant fogging for routine purposes in patient-care areas. Category IB”
2008: “Do not perform disinfectant fogging in patient-care areas. Category II”
In 2011, when presented with new technologies, the CDC clarified its position on disinfectant fogging “More research is required to clarify the effectiveness and reliability of fogging, UV irradiation, and ozone mists to reduce norovirus environmental contamination. (No recommendation/unresolved issue).
The 2003 and 2008 recommendations still apply; however, CDC does not yet make a recommendation regarding these newer technologies. This issue will be revisited as additional evidence becomes available”.
Fogging chemicals in the environment in a commercial building may create possible issues if it goes through the HVAC system that may be expensive to resolve or may cause health issues amongst building users.
In Australia, disinfectants and claims for disinfectants have to be registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and there are specific guidelines in relation to acceptable testing methods and claims for disinfectant products. If the product and product testing is not registered and approved with the TGA and the manufacturers or suppliers are making specific claims of virus action, then the product might be illegal to sell in this country.
Clients are recommended to report suppliers selling non-approved disinfectants or making non-approved specific claims disinfectant activity against C19 to the TGA immediately.
Is it worth the risk?