What's in your fog?
After these phone calls I was always really perplexed as to why somebody was claiming to be a Fogging Specialist but didn’t know the chemical to put through the machine that they were a specialist in? I thought this was a real oxymoron and it led me to believe that these “Fogging Specialists” weren’t really specialists at all but we’re just trying to capitalise on the publics’ fear and the opportunity that the pandemic was presenting to them.
At the start of the pandemic fogging as far as I was concerned as a seasoned cleaning and hygiene professional was something that was done in foreign countries to primarily get rid of flying pests, not for disinfection of services at the onset of a virus.
I’ve never claimed to be is an expert in anything that I don’t know enough about, and that is the approach I took with these “Fogging Specialists”; I told them I didn’t know enough about it, that as far as I was aware the chemicals that we stock were not suitable for Fogging. I took this approach because I didn’t know enough about the overall fogging proposition and I needed to protect Astral Hygiene’s reputation; there was no way that I was going to guess that Fogging would work!
I was also concerned about the efficacy of fogging. Is it appropriate to be spraying the chemical and saying to your customer yes this chemical is suitable for fogging; yes this chemical will kill bacteria; yes this chemical will kill the virus…… when in fact the chemical might be absolutely ineffective when delivered by fogging, it may be in absolutely toxic; and may actually be harmful.
This thought process and my experiences during the beginning of the pandemic led me to believe that there were so many charlatans out there trying to capitalise on the publics’ fear of the virus and the business owners fear that they were going to go under if they didn’t comply with the cleaning recommendations which were yet to be published by the government and organising bodies. This left me ashamed of my colleagues within the cleaning and hygiene sector and how they were completely and utterly taking advantage of people who were simply afraid. I was determined to find a better, validated way of fogging… or not get involved at all.
What's Astrals' stance?
Many of my personal local customers came to meet to discuss the principle of fogging, and I said to each and everyone of them at the beginning of this pandemic that to my knowledge fogging had not been validated, it had not been clinically researched within our sector for viral containment and bacteria reduction. Until I saw a supplier who is able to evidence to me that fogging was achieving a bacterial and viral reduction I would not be getting behind the fogging principle and would not be selling it as an infection control measure.
This was my stance, because I needed to make sure that I was protecting my own personal reputation and the reputation of Astral Hygiene. At Astral Hygiene we do everything right or not at all, we give good scientific based advice, that is grounded in research and evidence; we never just guess that that product will be okay for whatever purpose.
Soon enough the “Fogging Specialists” stopped calling… fast forward a few months and the landscape has dramatically changed, and we now have loads of fogging chemicals on the market, and loads of fogging machines to choose from.
So this is when it starts to get even more complex. We no longer have the pretenders to deal with, we are now dealing with professionals who clean premises day in day out, fogging establishments with blind faith that their distributor has sold them the right product – that is not only effective, but also safe. Anybody who is saying that any chemical/fog will provide protection for X amount of hours or days is either ill informed or lying to you. When you bring contamination in to an environment, it doesn’t matter what that environment has been cleaned with, it is contaminated as soon as that contamination is brought in.
I have spoken to people who have been using fogging as an infection control measure within their establishment and they are wheezing, have a sore throat, and this maybe because, the chemical that they are using to fog is entirely unsuitable, and it might be appropriate to say to go so far as to say it is toxic?
So the question I’m asking is if you are fogging do you know the chemical you were spraying around your establishment or having sprayed around your establishment is 100% safe for the people moving around? This for me is a huge issue, it has huge health and safety implications, and it has huge legal implications for anybody who is trusting someone to fog your premises.
I have even gone as far as looking at the European Chemicals Agency (EHCA) website, to see what all the scientists opinions are on these chemicals that are being sprayed so liberally around all of our UK premises. What I’ve found does not make me feel satisfied that the chemicals being used nationally across the UK for fogging will keep everybody safe; it may be that these chemicals are keeping everybody the opposite of safe; making everybody feel more unwell..
So what is the alternative?
A better, clinically tested way......
Astral Hygiene engaged with a supplier who supply a chemical that is totally safe for fogging. It is listed on the EHCA’s website as being safe it has the accreditation is that everybody is looking for BS EN 1276 – bactericidal food safe (so non-toxic), BS EN 14476 – viricidal so will kill all of the usual viruses including coronaviruses. These claims are no different than all of the all of the other chemicals out there which people are recommending; so why did we choose this one?
The chemical that I’m talking about is a chemical called Salvesan and it’s basically got very few ingredients. The ingredient that is the most important is Hypochlorous Acid which is been approved by the EHCA. This main ingredient Hypochlorous Acid and is present in our bodies so it has been designed by mother nature and harnessed by our scientists. This product is 100% natural, non toxic and entirely compostable.
Hypochlorous Acid is produced by our bodies; in our white blood cells to tackle infection or a pathogen. The white blood cells are produced by our immune system and they multiply to go and find that infection; once the infection has been located the white blood cells then produce hypochlorous acid.
The manufacturer and Astral Hygiene are working absolutely in partnership to make sure that our customers know that this product is 100% safe for fogging. The manufacture has evidenced to Astral Hygiene that Salvesan actually works! Astral Hygiene and the manufacture are working together to actually engage in clinical trials of this product when passed through a fogger so we are validating each fogger that we are recommending it to be used for.
These clinical trials involve taking particular Fogging machines along to a customer premises, swabbing certain earmarked areas; labelling it; fogging that room for a specified amount of time (different time intervals) so that we can really get an idea of how long the fog needs to be present in the room to actually reduce the viral and bacterial load per square centimetre. When the fogging is complete we swap the area again and both sets of swaps get sent to the lab to be tested. What were looking to see is whether or not first swab has a higher amount of bacteria and virus then the second swab. Are these results significant enough for us to say this fog works. So for example a significant reduction would be 27,000,000 bugs (bacteria and virus) per square centimetre to 470 per centimetre – that is a significant reduction.
This approach allows me to categorically say to my customers both locally and nationally the yes Salvesan works in this fogging machine absolutely. Astral Hygiene had a clinical trial so we know for definite that this product works. These are the lengths that we at Astral Hygiene will go to to make sure that we are giving sound clinical clinical evidence advice to everybody we speak to.
We have also checked our product on the EHCA Website.
Is your supplier doing the same?
The purpose of this blog is to let you know that we have a running a clinical trial and that the results of the clinical trials are telling us our fogging chemical is safe, effective and can be used in multiple areas and you can actually stand in the room and breathe in the fog without any PPE on at all.
But it’s also a warning, please make sure get your supplier or your cleaner are using a chemical that has been clinically tested as being safe and effective, make sure it’s absolutely non-toxic, have a look at the main ingredient on it. You can google EHCA opinions and put the chemical Name, you’ll get a big document but it will help you to decide if that chemical is safe.
The material safety data sheet will not help you to decide whether or not that chemical is safe to fog. This is due to the fact that the material safety data sheet is more than likely not been updated since everybody started fogging everything, and even those chemicals I have the excalamation point as a hazard warning, are potentially not okay to be fogging rooms with.
The exclamation point hazard warning and any material safety data sheet basically says that this chemical is an irritant; it is going to irritate you if you get it in your eyes; irritate you if you get it on your skin what is it going do if it gets in your lungs? Irritate them at the very least, what about asthmatics?
Now is the time as a business owner, to put your trust in an informed and well versed supplier which potentially do not include the big names. Now is the time as an employer to educate yourself and make sure you are taking care of yourself and your customers. Google your main ingredient, and think if I need to wear PPE while I’m using this fogging machine, do people entering the room in six hours or however long need PPE? Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it is safe.
As always if you have any questions or would like to discuss this with me further you can get me at Astral Hygiene HQ.