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Promising New Antiviral Technology to Combat Coronavirus Could be Applied to Mass Transit

Jun 11, 2021

As more communities and businesses strive to safely return to some semblance of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic, STV is playing a key role in helping to bring an innovative antiviral air treatment solution to our nation’s mass transportation network.

For the past year, STV has been consulting with Grignard Company, a Rahway, NJ-based chemical manufacturer that serves multiple industries. Grignard is the maker of Grignard Pure, a continuous, antimicrobial air treatment solution that attacks more than 98 percent of airborne SARS-CoV-2 virus (coronavirus) particles in occupied indoor spaces. A nearly identical formulation to Grignard Pure was first used in the 2000s, creating a safe-to-breathe disinfecting fog and haze for concerts and other theatrical events.

Grignard Pure is traditionally pumped into the air through HVAC systems or vents. But Grignard brought STV aboard to help determine how Grignard Pure can best be utilized in our nation’s transportation network, including outfitting passenger transit vehicles and facilities with the proper distribution systems for the chemical.

“Grignard wanted to be able to connect with a willing transit authority or agency,” said Christopher Holliday, P.E., STV senior vice president and vehicles national practice leader. “We ended up connecting them with a major intercity passenger railroad. We worked with the railroad in an engineering capacity to figure out the best approach to get this system installed.”

Interest in the product has grown further since January, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its first formal approval of the Grignard Pure air treatment for sale and use in two states in specific indoor locations: Tennessee and Georgia. The states were granted approval under the EPA’s Section 18 Public Health Emergency Exemption program (which also applies to federal agencies). There is a strong belief that other states will soon receive EPA approval to use the formula. As that happens, STV is at the ready to provide any support to Grignard that’s needed for transportation-related inquiries.

According to Grignard, it is the only EPA-regulated solution that provides a critical added layer of protection against the coronavirus, attacking virus particles as they enter the air from talking, coughing, and sneezing. The continuous air treatment solution addresses the primary route of transmission, the air.

“With Grignard Pure, the effect on the virus is immediate upon exhalation from an infected person,” Holliday said.

The air treatment impacts the physical structure of the virus, inactivating it so it’s incapable of making people sick. And because it’s airborne, it disinfects every surface in a space. That makes it inherently superior to “the armies of people” agencies are currently utilizing to disinfect their buses and trains because it reaches places they can’t, Holliday added.

Triethylene glycol (TEG), the active ingredient in Grignard Pure, is a key ingredient for the atmospheric haze and lighting effects often used at arenas, theme and amusement parks, and theaters for live music events and stage performances, including on Broadway. Despite this track record, “right now it’s not well known by the public,” Holliday said. “The challenge is communicating the safety and efficacy of this to the general public.”

STV has informed its rail clients about the Grignard Pure air treatment and has given them access to information about the EPA’s approval process. However, agencies can’t implement the product into their systems until the EPA approves it for use in their states. Meanwhile STV, in concert with Luminator Technology Group – the firm designing the systems that will dispense the chemical on trains and buses – is ready to assist clients with the application of the air treatment system.