New Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to issue necessary directions for banning disinfectant tunnels, use of fumigation spray, as well as use of ultraviolet rays on humans in view of their hazardous health effects.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked the Centre to do the needful within a month, and not to wait till the last hour.
The verdict has come on a plea seeking directions to the Centre to immediately ban installation, production and advertisement of disinfection tunnels involving spraying or fumigation of chemical disinfectants on humans, as a step to manage the spread of Covid-19.
On September 7, the Centre had informed the Supreme Court that spraying of disinfectants on humans is not recommended under any circumstances, as spraying any chemical disinfectant is physically and psychologically harmful.
In an affidavit the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has informed the Supreme Court that the Directorate General of Health Services in June, held an expert committee meeting on the use of disinfectant tunnels, use of various chemicals and spraying of disinfectant along with the efficacy of such use of spraying/fogging.
Another expert committee in April had recommended that chemicals are harmful to human skin and the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, if inhaled. “External spraying of any chemical disinfectant does not kill the virus that has already the body of a person, who has earlier been exposed to the virus”, said the committee.
The committee agreed with suggestions made by another committee in April that “spraying of the individuals with disinfectants (tunnels, chambers, cabinets etc.) is not recommended” in both healthcare and non-healthcare settings.
“It is also observed that in indoor spaces, routine application of disinfectants to environmental surfaces by spraying fogging is not recommended for Covid-19 as the disinfectants may not be removing organic material and may miss surfaces shielded by objects, folded fabrics or surfaces with intricate designs,” said the affidavit.
The committee also observed that spraying of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is also not recommended to kill Covid-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris and it is not feasible to manually clean and remove all organic matter from such spaces.
“It is submitted in particular that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has not written any letter or issued any advisory on the use of ultra violet lights for disinfection of humans for Covid-19 management,” said the affidavit.