Is my package safe to receive during COVID-19?
"My major concern is contamination"
We received a question that so struck a chord with our team that we wanted to share it and the answer, with you:
"Due to this d**n pandemic, I want to avoid purchasing product that would be subjected to high contamination. Parcels are traveling through so many points of potential contamination. As the parcel will be handled by seniors who are at a high risk, must I take other necessary measures in the handling of this parcel upon arrival?"
People want to know how long the virus lives on surfaces and understandably, they worry those daily activities like grocery shopping or accepting home deliveries put them and their families at risk.
Like this customer, and like everyone in Canada, we too have an extraordinary concern about the pandemic. Following the appearance of COVID-19, we took a deep dive into the facts.
Based on scientific evidence, we are confident that receiving mail is very low on the worry level about COVID-19
It's very simple - we would not be working and delivering our products if we were worried. We want to assure you that cardboard, paper or fibre-based products including mail carry a low risk of contamination.
How coronavirus spreads
Experts at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) say that the COVID-19 virus causes infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- Respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
- Close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
Scientific Evidence: The Lancet Microbe
A study published April 2 in the medical journal, The Lancet Microbe, revealed how long the COVID-19 virus lasts on various common surfaces. The authors found that the virus lasted longest — seven days — on the outer layer of surgical masks.
The researchers behind the new study tested the virus' life span in a 71-degree-Fahrenheit room at 65% relative humidity. After three hours, the virus had disappeared from printing and tissue paper. It took two days for it to leave wood and cloth fabric. After four days, it was no longer detectable on glass or paper money. It lasted the longest, seven days, on stainless steel and plastic.
Strikingly, the authors wrote, the coronavirus was still present on the outward-facing side of a surgical mask on day seven of the investigation. That's the longest duration of all the materials they tested.
The study followed earlier research that also measured the coronavirus' lifespan on a range of household surfaces. The prior study, published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggested the virus could live up to four hours on copper and up to a day on cardboard. The researchers found that the virus lasted up to three days on plastic and stainless steel — a shorter time than the results in the Lancet study.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Microbe
What surfaces are riskiest?
According to PHAC, surfaces with the greatest risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus are smooth and touched by many people including:
- light switches
- faucet handles
- cabinet handles
- elevator buttons
Research shows the likelihood of novel Coronavirus contaminating cardboard or other shipping containers is low
Paper products play an important role in facilitating product safety, enhancing hygiene and responding to COVID-19 challenges. The World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Canada Post assure us it is safe to handle mail, including international mail and imported goods.
Research shows the likelihood of novel Coronavirus contaminating cardboard or other shipping containers is low. According to PHAC, the risk is low because shipping takes place over a period of days or weeks at room temperature.
According to Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), there have been no reported cases of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) add there is likely very low risk of spread of the virus from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.
The World Health Organization states:
"The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”
We appreciate everyone's continued support and hope these facts will reassure you as much as it did for our team. Stay safe, Canada!
- Cindy Clegg