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Disinfecting destroys or irrevisibly inactivates both the bacteria and viruses identified on the product’s label (like influenza and rhinovirus) on hard, nonporous surfaces. There are many types of surface disinfectants, however, some of which are inappropriate for a school bus environment. These can include hospital-grade germicidal bleaches and cleansers that are not commonly found outside of a healthcare environment, to limited- spectrum disinfectants such as toilet bowl cleaners. Household bleach products are also not recommended to be used on school buses for a variety of reasons. When used alone, liquid bleach fumes (and those of other disinfectants) can cause lung irritation. They also can exacerbate conditions suffered by students with disabilities, warn student transportation experts. Combine bleach with vinegar (chlorine gas), ammonia (chloramine) and rubbing alcohol (chloroform), and the result is po- tentially deadly. Plus, according to guidance published by Toyota regarding vehicle cleaning, bleach can ruin plastics and paint because it must be diluted with water and thor-


oughly rinsed. “You never want to use bleach on a school bus,” com-


mented Denise Donaldson, the editor and publisher of SafeRideNews, dedicated to child passenger safety. She also pointed out that students transporters should


be careful about the cleaning or disinfecting products they use in general, as the ingredients can also trigger allergic reactions in students. The products approved by the EPA to combat SARS-


CoV-2 include non-bleach hospital disinfectants like Vital Oxide, the solution used by AeroClave’s vehicle decontamination systems. They range from portable sprayer hoses that disperse fog in cutaway buses, to a larger refrigerator-sized portable system for a 40- foot bus, to a hands-free wall or shelf mount. They all disperse chlorine dioxide (ClO2), which “seem[s] to offer the fast turn-around times of UV (ultraviolet) systems with the ability to ensure whole room decontamination utilizing a safe, EPA-approved disinfectant, coupled with ease-of-use,” according to product literature. It also meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Fire Protection Association specifications. Automotive International, the maker of vehicle rust


protection ValuGard, also offers G-CLEAN, which consists of pre-mixed, water-based sanitizer and a dis- infectant. Company President Richard Hallbert shared that EPA has approved the non-toxic, triclosan-free spray to be used on SAR-CoV-2, with the company claiming it can kill 99.9-percent of viruses on hard, non-porous surfaces. It dries and disinfects in about 10 minutes.


GOJO Industries, the maker of Purell, pointed out


that its EPA-approved surface disinfectant products differ because they are alcohol-based. Purell disin- fectant quickly evaporates, leaving no residue, and it is safe to be used around children, the company said. “It’s not a harsh chemical treatment that will deterio- rate components,” added Morgan Paris, GOJO’s market development manager. For example, she said that many collegiate athletic


departments have switched to Purell products because they don’t damage weights, benches and flooring. She commented that the company also offers a bodily


fluid kit that includes personal protective equipment (gloves, googles, shoe covers), a sprayer to disinfect an area from a distance, including killing blood-borne pathogens, and hand sanitizer. “You then throw it away in a regular trash can. There is no need for biohazard bags,” Paris shared. The company is also developing a battery-powered


sprayer that she said could be used between routes on the school bus. Another common disinfectant used at the home,


office and on the school bus is made by a popular bleach manufacturer but doesn’t contain bleach. Clorox lists its wipes and five other products on its website as meet- ing EPA criteria for being used on SARS-CoV-2 as well as other human coronaviruses. The wipes label warns, however, that it should only be used on hard, non-po- rous surfaces. And if that surface comes into contact with food (or say a student’s face or mouth), “a water rinse is required.” Another product that Clorox said meets the new


coronavirus kill requirements is the company’s pro- fessional series Total 360 electrostatic sprayer. Used in classrooms and school buildings, it also has a school bus application. Cody Cox, the director of transportation and maintenance for Community ISD outside Dallas, has been using it for a couple of years. “We do not do anything besides spray the seats. It dries very fast,” he shared, adding that seats sprayed at his previous district resulted in no issues.


Possible Ramifications Cox’s experience doesn’t assuage the concerns of


Donaldson at SafeRideNews. She said that she has been gathering evidence that shows the general guidance is- sued by the CDC and states fails to take into account the potential damage that different disinfectants can cause to school bus components. “Chemical foggers ... don’t discriminate between what needs to be crashworthy and what doesn’t,” she explained. “And webbing and buckles are certainly hot spots in terms of touch points, so they are being targeted for wipes and sprays, but they shouldn’t be cleaned using chemicals.”


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