Difference in Disinfection Matters Don’t Let a Marketing Product Delusion Become Your Illusion.
Op-ed SteraMist vs. Electrostatic Sprayers (ESS): Unveiling the Superiority of SteraMist’s iHP Technology. Written by Dr. Halden Shane
Although electrostatic sprayers (ESS) devices have achieved some popularity for disinfection usage, they provide inferior results without proven user safety.
Before we go into a discussion about the differences between iHP and ESS, I think we should discuss the history of electrostatic sprayers. Electrostatic sprayers go way back in history. It was first patented in 1941 to improve industrial painting of metal surfaces in the automobile industry. In the 1980s, the technology was employed in agriculture for distributing pesticides on crops. It wasn’t until relatively recently that the same electrostatic sprayers were used in the disinfection of surfaces, a use for which it was never intended. No one invented the ESS for disinfection as it is the same technology from 1941 just packaged differently.
All electrostatic sprayers do is add a positive electric charge to a liquid as it passes through a nozzle. As most droplets produced from an electrostatic sprayer are 40-80-120 micron in size, think about being caught in a downpour outside during a rain storm – that is how big the ESS smallest droplet is. Another point to remember is that a disinfectant’s product safety and effectiveness may change based on how it is used. If a product label does not include disinfection directions for electrostatic sprayers, the EPA has not reviewed any data on whether the product is effective when used by this method.
As far as safety, which is paramount in the SteraMist family, TOMI had to demonstrate iHP’s safety with testing using proven scientific studies such as dermatoxic, respiratory (inhalation), and ocular (eyes) testing with live animal subjects. During COVID, due to the excessive demand needed for sanitizers and disinfectants, the EPA decided that those chemicals that were being used in ESS devices were deemed EPA registered without efficacy and proven scientific studies. The EPA quickly changed its system for testing safety. Its protocols deviated from the norm in testing but at least showed that they could document minimal safety criteria for their use.
It’s unfortunate that many professional associations like ISSA are recommending the use of these devices, contrary to the lack of individual product safety and efficacy studies.
From a safety standpoint, one can follow the links below in detail to the ethic review of electrostatic sprayers scenario 2b of the AEATF II Study or better known as AEA14.
In early 2020 during the start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention needed to perform a safety study as a result of the panic buying and the ESS flooding into the market that were using EPA-registered products and other disinfectants in electrostatic sprayers.
One that is interested can go and read the memorandum and complete the study with the results on their own by following the links below. The bottom line is that three devices were studied for safety. They were Victory, ByoPlanet/Clorox, and Emist, which were respectively handheld sprayers, backpack sprayers, and cart sprayers. They used EPA-registered sanitizers that were diluted to 215 ppm from 860 ppm.
Study volunteers merely sprayed a hotel conference center in Orlando Florida between November 14 and December 5, 2020.
These products were considered safe to be used, providing that the subjects wore long underwear, long sleeve shirts, and long pants. They did not wear gloves as required by product labeling. Hand and face and neck exposure were measured, and subjects were all fit tested to wear a half-face respirator with proper cartridge or N95 filtering face respirators during the study.
The protocol they followed was initially approved on February 20, 2020, and amended on June 16, 2020, by the Advarra institutional review board (IRB).
All test subjects wore goggles. There was no ocular or eye testing performed. There were 22 subjects enrolled in the test five females and 17 males the age range was from 24 to 70. It’s important to note that no females were allowed to participate if they thought or tested to be pregnant. All females were tested daily using pregnancy tests. No female technicians, cleaning personnel, or environmental service persons that are pregnant should be using electrostatic sprayers.
The conclusion was that this nonscientific study met up to the ethical standards for the protection of human subjects of research and requirements for documentation of ethical conduct of the research were satisfied, PROVIDED that the following criteria were met- goggles, half face respirator with cartridge or N95 filter respirator, long underwear, long pants, long sleeves, no pregnant or lactating women participated. It should also be noted that gloves were not used per the EPA label and that most of the hands had significant overspray on them.
Since the study’s conclusion, one of the companies tested, Victory, is no longer in business. ByoPlanet has changed its name to Clean Republic and uses a solution made by Envirocleanse A consisting of hypochlorous acid in its backpack. The Envirocleanse EPA label state that the product must contain 338 ppm FAC and if NOT used immediately after production needs to be tested with a chlorine test kit. The EPA states Do Not Use this product if it contains less than 338 ppm of available chlorine.
As opposed to the dubious efficacy and safety of ESS, SteraMist has emerged as a groundbreaking solution that goes beyond the capabilities of traditional methods. Not to be mistaken for just another electrostatic sprayer, SteraMist’s innovative ionized Hydrogen Peroxide (iHP) technology offers a superior option for effective and comprehensive disinfection.
Electrostatic sprayers have gained popularity in recent years due to their ability to efficiently disinfect large areas with a 3 log kill but were then tarnished with the recall of exploding and fire-prone batteries. These devices apply a positive charge to a disinfectant solution which only sometimes is EPA registered, causing it to adhere to surfaces through electrostatic attraction. While electrostatic sprayers offer advantages over traditional manual spray and wipe methods, they have certain limitations that SteraMist overcomes. Unlike electrostatic sprayers, SteraMist employs iHP technology, which harnesses the power of ionized Hydrogen Peroxide for comprehensive 6-log and greater disinfection. Instead of simply applying a charge to the solution, SteraMist employs a cold plasma arc that splits that hydrogen peroxide molecule and creates a hydroxyl radical, nature’s most powerful disinfectant. These hydroxyl radicals are one of the key reasons that SteraMist is far superior to electrostatic sprayers and why SteraMist should never be confused with its electrostatic counterpart.
Electrostatic sprayers rely solely on the attraction between charged particles and surfaces, while SteraMist’s iHP technology offers a multi-faceted approach to disinfection. The ionized Hydrogen Peroxide in SteraMist creates a fine mist (sub-micron to single digit micron) of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which effectively target and destroy pathogens such as bacteria spores, bacteria, viruses, and mold spores on contact. This thorough decontamination process ensures a higher level of disinfection, even in hard-to-reach areas. This level of disinfection and decontamination is simply not possible with other chemicals that are used with electrostatic sprayers. Chemicals like bleach, hypochlorous acid, or high percentage hydrogen peroxide solutions have a far too large particle size (40-120 microns) to move like a gas even when applied with a positive charge. SteraMist submicron to single-digit micron size which can only be achieved by passing it through the DARPA-designed cold plasma arc.
Because of electrostatic sprayers’ reliance on the positive charge of whichever chemical is being sprayed, there must be a wet contact time associated with disinfection. Having a wet time associated with disinfection means that there is not an instant kill, and the chemical mixture will have to sit on the surface which leaves moisture and chemical residue that will lead to corrosion or eventual breakdown of the surface material. This wet contact time can be from 1 minute to as high as 10 minutes depending on the product and or the pathogen you are attempting to treat and if you get full coverage, which is highly unlikely, you are just over-wetting your clients’ items causing corrosion and destruction. SteraMist’s iHP technology ensures that the integrity of the surface will not be harmed no matter how often it needs to be disinfected. The hydroxyl radicals leave behind an eco-friendly byproduct of only oxygen and humidity. Electrostatic and other forms of disinfection leave a thin film behind that would need to be wiped and if it is not, can lead to further contamination because of the sticky surface.
SteraMist can also be used as a full-room decontamination fogger in addition to a surface disinfectant. Electrostatic sprayers can only be used as a surface disinfectant due to the size of the particles and the chemicals used in the solutions. Attempting to employ an electrostatic sprayer as a complete room fogger would lead to extensive damage as the excessive moisture would saturate the surroundings and leave behind a substantial residue.
Having a DARPA-developed technology that produces a sub-micron to single-digit micron fog/mist allows SteraMist to dwell in the air and since our technology produces an enormous number of radicals as it can move as a gas to surfaces both high and low. In contrast, an electrostatic sprayer’s micron is so large and heavy that it just drops to the surface and has to dwell on the surface for a significant time creating wetness to the objects.
SteraMist’s iHP technology has been extensively tested and validated by independent third-party and government laboratories, providing concrete evidence of its efficacy. The technology has proven effective against a wide range of pathogens, including bacteria spores, bacteria, viruses, and fungi including its spores. This scientific validation ensures confidence in the disinfection process and sets SteraMist apart from electrostatic sprayers.
The closure of electrostatic companies like Victory Innovations emphasizes the importance of selecting disinfection solutions based on proven technology. SteraMist shines as an example of longevity and reliability. Its advanced technology, proven efficiency, adaptability, and unwavering customer support have secured its position as the go-to solution for effective disinfection. Its versatility enables it to be used in various environments, including the pharmacology industry, clean rooms, ambulances, offices, gyms, hospital rooms, education, aviation, first responders, and laboratories. SteraMist’s ability to stand the test of time reaffirms its position as a leader in the industry and ensures that it will continue to provide a safe and healthy environment for years to come.
SteraMist’s iHP technology represents a significant leap forward in the field of disinfection. By combining portability, rapid disinfection, thorough decontamination, residue-free application, and environmental safety, SteraMist surpasses electrostatic sprayers as the superior option for comprehensive disinfection. SteraMist’s iHP technology stands tall among traditional methods, providing a cutting-edge solution for a wide range of industries and applications. Choose SteraMist for unparalleled disinfection and peace of mind in maintaining a safe and healthy environment.
Stay tuned for my next Op-ed. Comparison of SteraMist and iHP technology to the vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), hydrogen peroxide vapor (HPV), and lesser ineffective activated hydrogen peroxide (aHP) marketplace competition.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention: Science and Ethics Review of AEATF II Pressurized Hand-Wand and Electrostatic Spraying Scenarios Design and Protocol for Exposure Monitoring:
EPA Registration Number: 85134-1: EPA Label for Envirocleanse A: https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/ppls/085134-00001-20200320.pdf