Disinfecting, Cleaning, and Best Practices for Protecting Your Family During the COVID19 Pandemic

May 19, 2020
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Since the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic began there has been an onslaught of news, information, and emerging science on the topic. Discerning how to best keep family and loved ones safe can be challenging in these times. Since the Coronavirus started spreading in the US, there has been an increased use of disinfectants and cleaners that pose potential dangers of their own. During this webinar scientists presented their work on effective, non-toxic solutions to cleaning and disinfecting in the home.

Dr. Stephanie Holm, Co-Director of the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) at University of California, San Francisco, discussed a new Safer Disinfecting infographic resource from the Western States PEHSU. Dr. Holm also discussed why making safer cleaning and disinfecting choices is important, the health risks of common disinfectants, and how to find safer products.

Dr. Karen Wang, Director of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, and founder of the consumer education site, Because Health, then discussed with Dr. Holm the latest science on COVID-19 persistence in the environment and practical advice for safely minimizing the risk of viral exposure in the home. Topics of discussion  included safe use of surface disinfectants that are effective at deactivating the virus. The speakers provided recommendations of specific products that are EPA registered and can be found in stores or online. They also highlighted the importance of hand washing and discussed the use of hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. In addition, the speakers discussed whether DIY surface disinfectants and DIY hand sanitizers are effective and safe. Other topics that they touched on include wearing and washing face masks properly and safely receiving deliveries to reduce fomite transmission. There was a Q&A session at the end of the webinar.

Featured Speakers

Stephanie Holm, MD, is Co-Director of the Western States PEHSU. Dr. Holm received her medical degree in 2011 from the University of Pittsburgh. She is board certified in both pediatrics and occupational/environmental medicine (trained at Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland and University of California San Francisco, respectively). She also completed a year of pediatric pulmonary training at Oakland before leaving to further pursue her interests in pediatric research and pediatric environmental medicine. She was the PI on THE AQUA study, a dual cohort study of asthmatic children with and without cigarette exposure, which measured particulate matter levels in children’s home environments in order to correlate these with features and behaviors of the household and its occupants. As part of her work with the Region 9 PEHSU, she reviewed literature relevant to disinfectant use and toxicities in early care and education environments. Dr. Holm completed an MPH in epidemiology at UC Berkeley in 2017 and is currently pursuing a PhD in epidemiology while continuing her research activities.

Karen Wang, PhD, is CHE’s Director and is the founder of Because Health, an environmental health education campaign for millennials. As Director, Karen has strengthened CHE’s programming to include sharing the latest science on how plastic pollution and climate change impact human health. She is also deeply committed and passionate about sharing science and education on the health effects of toxics and effective toxics reduction. She brings deep knowledge and experience in statistics, research methods, and data analysis. She particularly enjoys communicating scientific research to non-technical audiences. Karen completed her PhD in Strategic Management, a quantitative social science discipline grounded in applied economics and social psychology, at the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. Karen also holds a MSc in Earth Systems and a BA in Economics from Stanford University.

This webinar was moderated by Karen Wang, PhD, director of CHE. It lasted for 45 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.