Now you have two official options if you want to disinfect high-touch surfaces such as the statues in your Kanye West shrine. On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that that they have approved Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist for use against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). These are the first two products to receive such a designation.
Now, hold on a second, you may ask, didn’t the EPA already provide a list of over 400 disinfectant products, the so-called List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)? Well, these were disinfectants that the EPA in many cases had assumed would work against the Covid-19 coronavirus. This list was initiated near the beginning of the pandemic when the White House was still scrambling to figure out what to do about the Covid-19 coronavirus, as opposed to now, when the White House seems to be scrambling to figure out what to do.
Since the EPA at the time couldn’t wait for disinfectants to be tested specifically against the Covid-19 coronavirus, they assembled a list of products that worked against viruses that are seemingly “harder to kill” than the Covid-19 coronavirus. Seemingly “harder to kill” may sound a bit like a 2020 Steven Seagal movie sequel but is an apt description for many gastrointestinal viruses such as norovirus. Unlike the SARS-CoV2 which is just surrounded by lipid envelope, norovirus has a much sturdier protein shell that can protect it against many cleaning products.
List N also included products that could inactivate types of human coronavirus that are similar to but not the same as the SARS-CoV-2. All of this suggested that all of the disinfectants on List N could help keep your “Kanye for President” buttons Covid-19 coronavirus-free.
Nevertheless, most of the products on List N do not yet have peer-reviewed scientific publications demonstrating their effectiveness against the Covid-19 coronavirus. That’s what’s currently different about these two Lysol products that are manufactured by RB, which stands for Reckitt Benckiser and not Arby’s.
A press release from RB mentioned a study that they had commissioned. As detailed in a letter published in the American Journal of Infection Control, this study tested how well various ingredients in Lysol products worked against the Covid-19 coronavirus. All of the tested components, which included ethyl alcohol, para-chloro-meta-xylenol, salicylic acid, and quaternary ammonium compounds, inactivated the SARS-Cov2 within five minutes of being in contact with the virus.
Of course, this EPA announcement may make the two Lysol products even harder to find. Since the beginning of the pandemic, finding appropriate disinfectants has often been as hard to find as true love, the Yeti, and toilet paper, not necessarily in that order. Store shelves may still be bare except for products that don’t appear on List N. Don’t compromise though. If a disinfectant is not on List N, say “no, no, no” because you don’t want to risk using a disinfectant that doesn’t work against the SARS-CoV2.
One more thing. When using disinfectants, follow the directions on the product packaging and not what you may happen to hear from other sources, such as, oh maybe, a White House press conference. Recall that Lysol had to issue following tweet, back on April 24:
Don’t ingest or inject disinfectants. Don’t put it in or on your body. Approved for use against SARS-CoV2 doesn’t mean use anywhere, anyway, or anyhow. There’s a big difference between you and that Kanye West figurine in your bathroom.