What is the common link between rock concerts, theft deterrent devices and SARS-CoV-2 indoor air treatment? Interestingly enough, it’s the technology.
Here’s how it works
Theatrical fogging technology works when liquid glycol is passed over a heating element, thereby volatilizing the glycols into a visible “fog.” Typically, the fog generator technology is used in rock concerts and theatrical productions, but its potential to be used elsewhere has grown. Most recently, it’s being used to deter thieves by obscuring their vision temporarily with a thick, heavy fog. Unable to see their surroundings once activated, these devices are meant to delay and deter prospective thieves from escaping with stolen merchandise. But it doesn’t stop there.
The same technology has also been reinvented to deploy in our fight against COVID-19. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued an emergency exemption for an antiviral air treatment to be used in certain indoor spaces where social distancing can be a challenge. The manufacturer’s device generates a non-visible mist or very light haze that envelops airborne SARS-CoV-2 viral particles, thereby disrupting the membrane structure and deactivating the virus.
Efficacy studies of this airborne treatment technology have been around since the 1940s when glycol vapors were used as an air sanitizer against influenza. After reviewing the manufacturer’s data, the EPA indicated the triethylene glycol (TEG) will continuously inactivate 98% of airborne SARS-CoV-2 particles within a space. The EPA allows the product to be installed by professionals through a building’s HVAC system or by using devices positioned strategically within an indoor space. Once installed, posted signs are required to indicate the space is being treated and advise occupants the product may cause temporary irritation for sensitive populations.
Could this technology be a solution for your space?
We know SARS-CoV-2 air transmission causes the greatest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities. As schools reopen and we return to the workplace, air treatment technologies like this can provide greater protections. We know there will be another highly infectious event in the future and once validated by the EPA, this technology could be used in our response, whether it be for a new viral threat or a mutated SARS-CoV-2 strain.
Theatrical fogging technology won’t eliminate the need for face coverings, hand sanitization or social distancing, but it is one more tool to fight against COVID-19. EFI Global has been working closely with clients — from arenas and concert venues to big box retail chains and retail financial companies — to utilize this technology in a number of ways. This includes monitoring chemical exposures from these devices, reviewing the toxicology of the chemicals being used and providing field analysis regarding antimicrobial surface coatings and fogging products from a health and safety perspective.
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For more information on antimicrobial surface coatings and fogging products, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dunham, W. B., & MacNeal, W. J. (1944). Inactivation of influenza virus by mild antiseptics. The Journal of Immunology, 49(2), 123-128.
- Rudnick SN, McDevitt JJ, First MW, Spengler JD. Inactivating influenza viruses on surfaces using hydrogen peroxide or triethylene glycol at low vapor concentrations. Am J Infect Control. 2009 Dec;37(10):813-9.