Sanitiser spray guns unsafe to be used directly on humans

With 80% of the adult population fully vaccinated in Malaysia, the government has been actively giving permission for more business sectors to reopen as more states have been transitioning into phase two and three of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

While that happens, we are still required to follow SOPs such as wearing face masks, maintaining physical distance and using sanitisers frequently. The use of sanitisers, however, has become a cause for concern with sanitiser spray guns or nano mist spray gaining popularity in the country.

1. What are sanitiser spray guns and what are they used for?

Sanitiser spray gun
For illustration purposes only
Image credit: 3K Universe

Sanitiser spray guns, also known as nano mist sprays or nano mist sanitiser sprays, are battery-powered devices that are now being popularly used to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in various places such as shops, cars and even homes.

This item is now all the rage due to its quick and easy fix to sanitise surfaces that come in contact with the virus including us, humans, and it is being sold on online shopping platforms for as low as RM20 each.

2. How do they work against the virus?

Mini nano mist spray
Image credit: IndiaMART

Sanitiser guns use a mixture of bleach and water or other chemicals such as alcohol (70 to 90%), hydrogen peroxide, thymol and quaternary ammonia to kill viruses on surfaces.

The spray gun releases these concoctions in tiny droplets or nano mist onto surfaces including on humans. A report by Free Malaysia Today also states that some of these devices use “germ-busting UV lights” and creates “a blue glow when triggered.”

If you have ever walked into a shop that uses one of these devices, you’ve probably experienced how they spray the solutions on your clothes as well as other exposed body parts like arms, hands, and head.

3. Why are they not safe to be used on humans?

Covid-19 disinfection
Image credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York

In a statement dated 21st September 2021, Malaysia’s health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said disinfecting solutions used in these devices are “not meant to be used directly on humans” because it may cause irritation to the eyes, skin, respiratory and digestive system. He added that the use of nano mist sprays “does not replace the requirement for standard surface cleaning”.

Besides Dr Noor Hisham, other health experts are also cautioning the use of nano mist sprays on humans due to their potential health risks. On Monday, 20th September 2021, New Straits Times quoted Dr Koh Kar Chai the president of the Malaysian Medical Association that sanitising booths and guns are not meant to be used on persons entering the premises.

Dr Koh clarified that people do not carry the virus “on their clothes or external surfaces”. But rather, the virus is found in the nasopharyngeal wall and get “released into the air by sneezing, coughing, loud talking and laughing”.

4. Is it okay for you to buy one for personal or office use?

Sanitiser spray gun in Malaysia
Image credit: Blue Ray Nano Disinfectant Spray Gun

The short answer to this question of whether you should buy a sanitiser spray gun or not is that you can, if you want to. However, it is important to take note of the advice from experts so you don’t end up developing unwanted health complications.

Spray guns or nano mist sprays should only be used on surfaces and objects. So if you are thinking of getting one to replace the use of hand sanitisers, then it’s a no as they are not safe for humans.

If you are planning to get one to disinfect surfaces and objects in your home or office easily, then you may consider buying one provided that the spray is not used on humans in ways that would cause accidental inhaling, or skin irritation and so on.

Nonetheless, we still think that it’s best that we adhere to the sanitising guides issued by health authorities to be absolutely safe.

Sanitiser spray guns: Know the pros and cons

While many of us are completing our second dose vaccines, let’s keep in mind that we should always adhere to the SOPs outlined by the health ministry. As such, it’s important that we refrain from using unauthorised products in an attempt to protect ourselves from the virus. We hope you’ll find this list helpful to get to know nano mist sprays better and be cautious when you are entering malls or shops in the coming weeks.

Read more here:

Cover image adapted from: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York and IndiaMART 

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