What’s in Anti-Viral Kleenex?

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Do all KLEENEX boxes come with federal warnings against misuse?

I hadn’t intended to leave Walgreens with any kind of virucidal paper product, but in a fit of summer cold snuffles I accidentally bought a box of polka-dotted germ fighters equipped with directions against wiping up spills and an active ingredients list.

Promises the KLEENEX Anti-Viral tissue box: “[The] tissue has three soft layers, including a moisture-activated middle layer that kills 99.9% of cold and flu viruses in the tissue within 15 minutes.”

Wow! Would eating one cure a cold altogether?

Tragically, this goes unanswered on the KLEENEX website. But here’s my favorite question from the FAQ:

Do viruses have to hit the blue dots to be effective?

No. The virus is killed when it hits any part of the middle layer.

In case you’re wondering, the active ingredients—citric acid and sodium lauryl sulftate—are safe enough for government work. But Kimberly-Clark did have to get EPA clearance prior to marketing a facial tissue containing “pesticide” in 2004, according to a geektastic background article in the Wall Street Journal.

Has the proliferation of anti-viral products died down? I feel like I’m seeing less of them on the shelves overall these days. What about you, commenters?

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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