• The Editor

Fools Rush In

While many are now a lot less stressed about the COVID national lockdown in South Africa as we head towards level three on 1 June, it seems that the market is being flooded with 'solutions' and products that claim to be 'perfect' for fighting the virus.

One such product is the sudden flood of walk-through decontamination tunnels - or misting booths, which manufacturers claim kill all possible pathogens and make your business COVID-Free! But as recent media articles have started showing, there is no proof of any of the claims that are being made to sell these items, nor of their efficacy in fighting the virus. In fact, quite the contrary seems to be the case.

At this point in time, the WHO has not approved any misting systems for COVID control, nor have they provided any guidelines to ensure a common approach to these products. There are no local or international standards about what disinfectants could be used in the mister's, and this alone should be setting-off alarms across the world. Add to this the fact that companies far-off the medical field are behind the proliferation of these tunnels - sheet-metal shops; perspex dealers and even the odd whacko!

I wouldn't dream of walking through one of these tunnels - let alone allow my children to do so, because I have no idea what chemicals are being used or what their side-effects could be on my health. Yet, the National Department of Health - and the National Department of Education in South Africa are quite silent on these tunnels and the potential harm they pose to public health. They hark-back to the days of snake-oil treatment, and unless the industry and manufacturers get together and establish a suitable, healthy protocol for their use - and what is allowed to be used in the mist, we face an even bigger danger.

For example, unless the chemicals that are used are approved for purpose, what effect would they have with a breathing-compromised person - or one with dermatological problems? Would they acerbate the person's condition or worse - chase them into hospital for treatment. Allowing children to walk through them is a greater problem, and while there are those that oppose vaccines and other medication, they seem quite happy to expose their children here.

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade - and I respect the right of anyone to bring a product to market and to make a living, but with the flood of untested chemicals and solutions in the South African market today, whose responsibility is it to control this flood? Or is it just up to each of us to decide to support or avoid the misting tunnel?

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