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Surface Disinfectants are Ineffective In Eliminating Viruses

Some 40 percent of commercial disinfectants used to clean surfaces are believed to be ineffective in eliminating noroviruses, a group of viruses responsible for more than half of all food borne gastroenteritis outbreaks.

According to a recent study, only bleach-based disinfectants drastically reduce the concentration of these viruses.

Noroviruses spread directly via contact with infected persons or indirectly through contaminated objects, foods, or surfaces. The effectiveness of disinfectants used to clean surfaces at home or at businesses in the food sector is therefore crucial for limiting the spread of these viruses, which affect over 21 million people every year in the United States alone.

Researchers tested the efficacy of three major categories of household disinfectants: bleach-based products, alcohol-based products, and quaternary ammonium–based products.  Lab tests showed that five minutes of contact with a bleach-based disinfectant reduced the concentration of noroviruses on a stainless steel surface by a factor of 1,000. Alcohol- and quaternary ammonium-based products were 100 times less effective.

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