EPA Approves Two Lysol Products to Kill Coronavirus on Surfaces
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a list of 431 products that are effective at killing viruses when they are on surfaces. Now, a good year for Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser just got better when the EPA said that two Lysol products are among the products that can kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The two products are Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist. In a press release, the agency said that the two products were both successful in laboratory testing at preventing the spread of the virus.
While there are 431 products on the EPA's list of disinfectants that are strong enough to stave off "harder-to-kill" viruses than the novel coronavirus, the two Lysol products are the first to be tested directly against the virus behind the global pandemic and be proven effective, as CNN reported.
While the EPA plans to test more products against the coronavirus specifically, it has so far only approved the two Lysol products as effective at removing the virus from surfaces.
That doesn't mean you just spray the disinfectant, wipe it away, and the virus is gone. The tests showed it was effective after two minutes, which means spraying it, leaving it, and then vigorously scrubbing are important steps to ensuring the sprays remove the coronavirus.
Reckitt Benckiser has already seen its profits rise more than 13 percent in the first half of the year as individuals and businesses have prioritized sanitizing surfaces, as Forbes reported. The company also made headlines in April when it had to disavow President Trump's claim that a disinfectant inside the body could knock out the virus in one minute.
"We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)," the company said in statement at the time, as Forbes reported.
Now, the company has the distinct advantage of being allowed to advertise on its label that it can kill the novel coronavirus, which is technically named SARS-CoV-2. Before any product can legally advertise that it can kill a particular pathogen, the claim must be authorized by the EPA, according to The New York Daily News.
"In the face of the pandemic, Lysol continues to work with a wide range of scientific and health experts to educate the public on the importance of hygiene," said Rahul Kadyan, executive vice president of Reckitt Benckiser in North America, as CNN reported.
"Hygiene is both the foundation of health and essential in preventing the spread of illness causing germs," said Kadyan in a statement. "The EPA's approval recognizes that using Lysol Disinfectant Spray can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on hard, non-porous surfaces."
According to the press release, Lysol is currently testing other products to measure their efficacy against the coronavirus.
Other common products on the EPA's disinfectant list include the Scrubbing Bubbles Multi-Purpose Disinfectant, Clorox Bleach Blanqueador and Arm & Hammer Essentials Disinfecting Wipes, though none of them have been tested against the novel coronavirus, as the Today Show reported.
Along with wiping down surfaces, the CDC continues to ask the public to practice social distancing, wear protective face coverings in public, and wash hands thoroughly and often in order to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19, as ABC News reported.
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A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
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