Cleaning home table sanitizing kitchen table surface with disinfectant spray bottle washing surfaces with towel and gloves. COVID-19 prevention sanitizing inside.

Contributed By The Ashkin Group

An April 5, 2021 "Science Brief" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) appears to call into question the amount of surface disinfecting necessary to quell the spread of COVID-19.

According to the CDC, while it is possible to contract the disease by touching COVID-contaminated surfaces and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes, the chances of this happening are "generally less than one in 10,000." 

Further, effective handwashing can reduce these chances even more. In most cases, the brief concludes, transmission of the virus is through the inhalation of airborne droplets. In addition, it states that on most surfaces, there is a "99 percent reduction in infectious SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) within 72 hours." The degradation may even be faster because many studies are not conducted under "real world" conditions.

"While the study does not call into question the need for surfaces to be kept clean, it does call into question the use of disinfectants," says Stephen Ashkin, found and president of The Ashkin Group.

The study goes beyond just questioning the use of disinfectants, stating they are all too frequently misused. 

"There have been increases in poisonings and injuries from unsafe use of cleaners and disinfectants since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the CDC brief. "Some types of disinfection applications, particularly those including fogging or misting, are neither safe nor effective for inactivating the virus unless properly used." 

Ashkin says that the big takeaway of this latest report is that "we are likely over disinfecting. It is unnecessary; it is proving to be unhealthy for people, including cleaning workers, and certainly not healthy for the environment." 

 Instead of such emphasis on disinfecting, "effective cleaning and effective handwashing is likely all that is necessary to slow the spread of this disease."