Can we get COVID-19 from handling paper?

At PCG we have tried to resolve some doubts about the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through paper, cardboard and other surfaces. To do this we have consulted recent official reports about the survival of viruses on these surfaces and their ability to retain and spread the virus.

Considering the high level of transmission of COVID 19 and its high speed of propagation, it is normal that we can find numerous studies on its resistance on contact surfaces. It is important for us to know its persistence and the ways in which we can reduce that propagation. 

ASPAPEL collects a technical file where it summarizes the different studies made by various official organizations that argue the effect and permanence of SARS-CoV-2 on paper surfaces.

The data file mentions a reference study published last April in The New England Journal of Medicine titled Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. This study evaluated the surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 in plastic, stainless steel, copper and cardboard, and compared it with SARS-CoV-1 virus under 10 different experimental conditions. The result concluded that:

 

  Not all surfaces are the same when it comes to spreading the virus, it all depends on the material. 

On cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected after 24 hours.

The virus could be detected in aerosols up to three hours after spraying; up to four hours after spraying in copper; and up to three days in plastic and stainless steel.

The WHO itself and major scientific institutes report that “there has never been a documented incident whereby the COVID-19 virus has been transmitted from a print newspaper, print magazine, print letter, or print package” says the Executive Director and CEO of the International News Media Association, Earl J. Wilkinson, in his blog.

In the same study, Wilkinson determined that the SARS-CoV-2 virus persists best on smooth, non-porous surfaces, so the porosity of paper and cardboard makes it difficult for the virus to spread. In addition, manufacturing conditions, printing and distribution processes make paper a sterile medium, significantly reducing the amount of viable particles needed to infect any individual.

An additional research published in May in The Lancet Microbe, titled The stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions reported that “no infectious viruses could be recovered from printing papers and tissues after a 3-hour incubation”.

The studies that have been carried out to this day confirm that there is no risk in the handling of materials such as paper or cardboard. As a printer, it is vital for us to address concerns related to the spread of the virus through these materials. It is our duty to be concerned about the safety of our workers and our customers. 

At PCG we continue to work by taking all the necessary measures to guarantee the safety of our workers and our products, carrying out production in our pre-conditioned facilities.

Contact with PCG

If you need a personalised quotation or would like our team to provide you with assessment for your projects, please feel free to contact us. We are a team of professionals from the sector that will look after your project from beginning to end.

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