It was fortuitous timing: Joliet-based Seeler Industries Inc., which has been in business for more than 40 years, was already ramping up production when the coronavirus hit.
“We are very well positioned to help out in the community by being able to provide more product during this trying time,” said Vincent Casalino, Seeler vice president of growth and regulatory affairs.
Casalino says the chemical company has seen demand rise 20% — and more for certain products.
“We are one of the largest manufacturers of peracetic acid in North America,” Casalino said. “How it works is, it breaks down the structure of the coronavirus, killing it and rendering it dead at that point in time” by breaking down the virus’s lipid wall.
On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a list of disinfectants proven to kill COVID-19 – products made of chemicals like those that come from Seeler, like peractic acid and hydrogen peroxide.
Such chemicals are used to clear surfaces, or they’re fogs that can disinfect rooms — they’re not intended for use on humans, as with a hand sanitizer.
Casalino does offer practical advice for consumers who are using products with the intent of killing germs: shoppers should check labels. There’s a difference, he said, between cleaners and disinfectants – the latter of which destroy the virus.
“Look at the labels, read the chemicals carefully and especially if your concern is about COVID-19 make sure that product is EPA registered,” he said. “When something is being claimed as a cleaner, that’s all it technically, lawfully can be used for is cleaning. It’s not going to sanitize, it’s not going to kill COVID. It may, but you can’t assume that it will. You need to look for a product that is EPA registered with kill claims for antimicrobials and in this case look for one that specifically has COVID on the label.”
If you haven’t seen “COVID-killing” on labels yet, Casalino predicts you soon will.
For anyone out of work due to the coronavirus and looking for a job, Seeler is looking to hire forklift and warehouse workers and chemical handlers and blenders.
“We are one means to stopping this and reducing the impact that this has on the nation. But the other thing obviously is, people doing their individual part and that’s quarantining when you can, obviously us at Seller are making a sacrifice here by coming in every day, working the best we can because we are at the top end of the essential employee list because of what we make and what we do here,” Casalino said.
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