"Disinfectant fog" used by Amazon in 60 Minutes report on coronavirus precautions wasn't EPA-approved

Amazon tells 60 Minutes it has stopped using the fogged disinfectant that the company originally said would help control the spread of COVID-19.

Examining Amazon's treatment of its workers
Examining Amazon's treatment of its workers 13:17

60 Minutes has learned that a cleaning method that Amazon demonstrated on our broadcast – a "disinfectant fog" that the company said would help control the spread of COVID-19 throughout its facilities – is neither EPA-approved nor recommended, and has never been. 

The company has informed 60 Minutes that it is no longer in use. 

In our May 10, 2020, broadcast, Amazon's Dave Clark -- senior vice president of worldwide operations -- gave correspondent Lesley Stahl a tour of an Amazon fulfillment center in Kent, Washington.

Cameras filmed a man wearing a hazmat suit, spraying a chemical called NISUS DSV with a device known as a cold fogger. In an unaired portion of the tour, Clark told Stahl that the "disinfectant fog" was being used "throughout all of our operation sites … to ensure that all surfaces, not just the ones that people regularly touch, get disinfected."

"And this goes on all day?" Stahl asked in the report. Replied Clark: "Some sites this happens once a week, and some sites this occurs throughout the day, every day."

However, the featured method is not recommended or approved, according to the EPA, because the agency has "not validated the product's efficaciousness when applied by fogging." Fogging the product does not ensure that surfaces are disinfected, the agency told 60 Minutes. 

It's important to note that NISUS DSV is a chemical that meets the EPA's criteria to fight the virus that causes COVID-19, but only if it is applied correctly.

Amazon now tells 60 Minutes that its use of cold fogger was a pilot project that was never widely used. It says it has been replaced with a "backpack sprayer," which is another system for distributing this disinfecting agent and is in accordance with the product's label.

Amazon also provided 60 Minutes with the following statement: 

"Amazon has made over 150 process updates for the health and safety of our teams—from enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures to disinfectant spraying. The disinfectant spraying process that is in place at over 500 locations uses backpack sprayers and meets all safety requirements."

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A worker sprays the "disinfectant fog" during the 60 Minutes report. CBS News