Aircraft operators are being presented with myriad ways to protect their crews and passengers from COVID-19. As more becomes known about the virus, some solutions are emerging as more suitable than others.
“We are getting smarter,” said Frances Gristead, CEO of decontamination-system provider Curis and founder and CEO of Pathogend Bio-Decontamination Services. Speaking this week at the National Business Aviation Association’s continuing webinar series on aircraft disinfection practices, she noted, “It used to be that people had no idea of the difference between bleach and quaternary ammonium, and now we are seeing a much more educated buyer and user.”
She explained that the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and sterilizing concerns how many live pathogens remain on a surface after treatment—a tally known as log reduction: the higher the number-log, the fewer pathogens left behind. Operators must decide what level of disinfection (log reduction) they are looking to achieve.
It is a complicated topic, Gristead said, and before choosing a disinfection method, operators need to do research and view alternatives skeptically. This is especially true since there are now lawsuits where plaintiffs are claiming they were exposed to an environment where they contracted COVID-19. In such cases, companies might need to prove they did all they could be expected to do to protect the health of their clients.
Aircraft owners should demand to see peer-reviewed data for disinfection products and systems to ensure that they do what their manufacturers claim they can do. According to Greistead, some products are not regulated by the EPA, and so their makers generate their own data.
To achieve the intended log reduction, users of disinfectant products need to follow the manufacturers’ application instructions. For products that are federally regulated, they also need to adhere to