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Disinfectant tunnels don't kill coronavirus but may harm people
Published on: 2020-05-21
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tunnels​Experts have warned against the use of disinfectant tunnels that many countries are setting up to spray on people as they enter certain premises.

The idea is for people to walk through these tunnels or chambers and be disinfected to reduce the risk of them spreading Covid-19.

However, the experts say these tunnels not only do not help to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but could also cause harm to people using them.

tunnels 03A report in the British-based Occupational Medicine journal warned: "A chemical may be safe when applied topically in liquid form, but extremely toxic when atomised and inhaled."

It studied a range of nine disinfectants commonly used in such tunnels, and said: "Direct aerosol contact with the cornea can cause irritation and irreversible damage. Skin irritation and damage are also common."

It added that the aerosolised particles are easily inhaled into the lungs and "can react with the mucosal lining (such as the inner lining of mouth and nose) causing irritation, swelling and ulceration in the respiratory tract. Some chemicals can be absorbed through the mucosa into the bloodstream and affect distant organ systems, eg. central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract".

If ultraviolet radiation is used - and 15 minute exposure is needed to kill the virus - it "can cause damage to the eye and skin and is a known cause of skin cancer", the article said.

Furthermore, clothes that have been sprayed causes prolonged skin exposure - "until and unless the contaminated clothing is removed, and the skin thoroughly irrigated".

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