Fog machine chemical beats back China Virus

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These Miami Dolphin cheerleaders perform in a special effects fog, created from ‘Grignard Pure’ – recently approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for emergency use as an antiviral air treatment.

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 15, the EPA granted special approval to the States of Tennessee and Georgia to use a chemical fog to help kill the China Virus. The chemical Triethylene Glycol, or ‘TEG’  has been used for a number of years as the active ingredient in a substance to make “fog” in stage and movie productions, marketed as Grignard Pure, and manufactured by Grignard, a long-time Rahway, NJ chemical company.

WASHINGTON, DC –  All emergency approvals for TEG require that notices be posted to alert visitors and staffers who may enter an area where the TEG fog is being dispensed.

A relative of ethylene glycol (better known as antifreeze), TEG is a type of alcohol — clear liquid with little odor and thicker in consistency than water. The substance, when used as a mist or fog, is effective against the China Virus since high concentrations of alcohol dissolve the fat coating of the virus, rendering it inactive.

Possible applications include buses, trains, restrooms, offices, schools, government offices, hospitals, churches, and so on. Under the emergency decree, EPA and the Center for Disease Control have placed limitations on TEG dispensing. EPA mandates that equipment generating the mist should be operated by ‘professional operators.’ This pretty much rules out home use for now.  CDC also said the recommendations to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and wash hands still apply. (Huh!?)

Approval tests for TEG were run using a surrogate virus that is more difficult to kill than the China Virus. TEG killed 98 percent of that high-potency virus. Dispersal of the fog comes by way of HVAC air handlers and portable dispensers suitable for restrooms and other areas. The fog varies from invisible to a light haze. EPA will be monitoring the use of TEG until further studies are done to remove the conditional approval. Therefore, if you enter a TEG mist area and experience symptoms that may be related to the TEG exposure, you should evacuate the area by going outside or leaving for a mist-free room. 

Then report your unfortunate experience to the EPA. 

What are some of the side effects of TEG?  Eye, nose and throat irritation including watery or dry eyes, itching, redness and sore throat. The chemical also has what is known as an ‘MSDS,’ which stands for Material Safety Data Sheet. Similar materials include things like Freon, gasoline, acetone, hydrofluoric acid, and super glue. 

For those who want to delve more deeply, I am happy to offer these two factoids:

  • Freon can change into phosgene gas, which the Germans used to kill soldiers in WWI.
  • Interesting story: When I worked for a small broadcasting equipment manufacturer in Colorado, one of the ladies on the assembly line was making RF assemblies using Freon to clean silver plated components. She told me she sometimes felt sick and had to go home. She showed me her process of cleaning the assemblies in Freon, and then going back to her work station where she used a blowtorch to solder the pieces together. If she got back to her work station quickly, there was still Freon on the parts, and the flame created phosgene gas (which, of course, made her ill).

I suggested she use a fan to evaporate the Freon before going back to work. I explained the problem to her supervisor, i.e., that the assembler should allow the Freon to evaporate before soldering.  

Someone on the production line called EPA to complain about the poison gas problem.   EPA inspectors came in and wrote the company up on several violations, but NOT THE POISON GAS PROBLEM!!  The production VP called me into his office to say EPA had cleared the company of any poison gas problem, demanding I never start rumors about phosgene gas again. 

I replied that EPA didn’t comprehend the phosgene gas problem, yet I had kept one of our best workers from dying on the job.  I was still accused of calling the EPA (even though I hadn’t done so.)

Back to TEG precautions!  If the substance should splash into your eye, wash out using water for several minutes. Should you wear contact lenses, remove them after the first rinse and then rinse the eyes again for two minutes or so. TEG mist or aerosol is a slight hazard when inhaled and may cause minor respiratory tract irritation. Repeated and prolonged exposure can cause moderate to excessive irritation, with the possibility of death. TEG can also cause nervous system damage and is toxic to kidneys. 

So now you know why EPA gives the stuff only ‘emergency approval’ in certain designated circumstances! But extraordinary measures are required in these difficult times.