Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Studies Help Settle Great Debate Over Health Benefits of Carpeting

CHICAGO - U.S. Products - January 29th, 2014 — For decades, facility managers and owners have pondered the health benefits or detriments of installing carpeting, but recent studies are swaying the argument in favor of carpeting.

Each year approximately 100,000 people in the U.S. die due to hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This is often greater than the number of people who die annually from AIDS, breast cancer and automobile accidents combined.

This astoundingly high number has remained at this level for years even though many medical facilities have taken steps to reduce it.

However, one surprising way medical administrators may be able to reduce the number of deaths may be right under their feet: carpeting.

For instance, a recent study conducted by Airmid Healthgoup Limited, a leading biomedical research organization, found that properly maintained carpets (using high performance vacuum cleaners and cleaned using hot water extractors) can trap foreign allergens that could have potential negative health impacts and improved overall air quality far greater than hard surface flooring.

This follows a 2008 study, "Carpet, Asthma and Allergies — Myth or Reality," by Dr. Mitchell W. Sauerhoff, that found carpeting has the ability to hold and trap (sequester) contaminants, a feature not possible with hard-surface floors.

"We can have as many as 50 direct and indirect contacts with floors every day," says Joe Versluis, national sales manager for U.S. Products, a leading manufacturer of hot-water carpet extractors. "If contaminated floors are touched and then we touch other surfaces, this begins cross contamination and the way disease and infections can spread."

Both studies parallel other research dating back more than a decade comparing carpet and hard-surface flooring and coming to similar conclusions.

"This is not a surprising result," according to Sauerhoff, "since one of the properties of carpet is that it ... [traps and holds] biomaterials that would otherwise be resuspended into the breathing zone."

Unfortunately, many healthcare facilities may be unaware of the healing benefits of carpeting.

"Hopefully, medical administrators will revisit these studies to help reduce the staggering number of HAIs in this country," suggests Versluis.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Study: Carpet Actually Improves Indoor Air Quality

DALTON, GA — A series of studies funded by Shaw Industries indicates that effectively cleaned carpets can trap allergens and other particles, resulting in fewer particles escaping into the air and thus contributing to the maintenance of indoor air quality, according to a press release. 

"These studies challenge the long held belief that carpet must adversely impact indoor air quality as it pertains to allergy and asthma sufferers," said Dr. Bruce Mitchell, chief executive officer (CEO) of Airmid Healthgroup Limited, the independent bio-medical research organization that conducted the study.

The studies aimed to determine the depth of allergen penetration in carpet, the levels of allergens found in the air and the impact of carpet cleaning on allergen removal, the release stated.

According to the release, after cleaning the carpets, a meaningful reduction in allergens occurred in the carpet and the surrounding air.

"These findings add to the existing body of research that indicates that well-maintained and effectively cleaned carpets can be a viable choice for asthma and allergy sufferers," said Paul Murray, vice president of sustainability and environmental affairs at Shaw.

Click here to read the release in its entirety.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

FDA Questions Antibacterial Soap Safety

WASHINGTON — On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it would require soap manufacturers to demonstrate that the substances were safe or they would be required to take them out of the products altogether, according to the New York Times.

The proposal was applauded by public health experts, who have been urging the agency to regulate antimicrobial chemicals for years, warning that they risk "scrambling hormones in children and promoting drug-resistant infections," the article stated.

According to the article, the proposed rule does not require producers of the soaps to take them off the market immediately; the FDA has given companies a year to "produce data showing that the chemicals are both safe and effective."

If companies cannot prove that their products are safe, the chemicals will need to be removed, the article noted.

The rule will be open for public comment for 180 days, and does not currently apply to hand sanitizers, which will be considered separately, the article added.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Most Hands Are Not Being Washed Long Enough

IRVINE, CA — U.S. research is indicating that only 5 percent of those who use a restroom wash their hands long enough to kill the germs that cause infection, according to the United Press International.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Environmental Health, indicates a third of the people involved in the study didn't use soap and an alarming 10 percent didn't wash their hands at all, the article stated.

According to the article, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that it takes 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand-washing to effectively kill germs, but the study found that, on average, people are only washing their hands for roughly six seconds.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

4 Tips for Limiting the Spread of Flu in the Workplace

To help limit the spread of the flu in the workplace this flu season, ITW Professional Brands offers four tips for proper building cleaning and sanitization:

1)    Promote hand hygiene:  Frequent hand washing is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of illness. Post proper hand washing protocol in public facilities and ensure employees wash their hands frequently with anti-microbial hand soap and water. In areas without sinks, offer hand washing and sanitizing wipes to ensure proper hand hygiene. 

2)    Disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently:  High-touch areas should be cleaned more frequently than other areas within a facility.  Use a multi-purpose disinfectant with a fast dwell time. When selecting a disinfectant, it is important to consider contact time and cleaning ability.  Common high-touch surfaces to consider include door handles, railings, light switches, desks, keyboards, telephones, chairs, desks and tables.

3)    Encourage the use of pre-moistened wipes:  Providing cleaning staff with pre-moistened wipes simplifies the cleaning process and ensures cleaners follow correct chemical dilution ratios.  Pre-moistened wipes also eliminate exposure to chemical concentrates and reduce the chance of cross-contamination.

4)    Review best practices for disinfection with staff:  Instruct cleaning staff in appropriate procedures for disinfection as well as protecting themselves from picking up viruses during their work. In addition to making sure staff understand the proper procedures for disinfecting, it is equally important that cleaners understand the significant role they play in combating disease.

Click here to read the release in its entirety.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Carpet Cleaning and Pet Safety

MUKILTEO, WA — Cleaning professionals and carpet cleaning technicians must always practice special safeguards when cleaning carpets in the homes of pet owners, according to a press release.

Just as children are closer to floor areas and can be more impacted by chemicals, chemical fumes, as well as contaminants on floors and carpets, pets are also vulnerable to these risks, the release stated.

"The big problem appears to be [the] chemical residue left in the carpets after cleaning. It is very important that moisture and chemicals be thoroughly extracted when carpets are cleaned," says Mark Cuddy, national sales manager for U.S. Products.

According to the release, to help avoid this from happening to you and your customers, Cuddy suggests the following:
  • Be very careful when using spotters. Spotters can be powerful and leave a chemical residue in the carpet.
  • Pre-spray carpets sparingly, placing more emphasis on heavily soiled areas. "Pre-spraying carpets typically results in less chemical being used," adds Cuddy.
  • Use low moisture carpet extractors. Extraction is the most thorough way to clean carpets. A low moisture system typically uses less water, which can translate into less chemical used in the cleaning process.
Click here to read the release in its entirety.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Study Finds Paper Towels More Hygienic Than Hand Dryers

Looks can be deceiving: Despite their reputation for being messy, hand towels are more hygienic than dryers because they physically remove germs.

Bio-medical scientist Cunrui Huang says this is because wet hands are better at passing on germs than dry ones. Huang's review of 12 studies found that, overall, paper towels were ‘superior’. One study found they leave hands 96 per cent dry after just ten seconds. After 15 seconds, the hands are 99 per cent dry.

By contrast, a drier takes at least 45 seconds. The amount of time is important because most people spend only a few seconds on drying their hands.

One study found men spend 17 seconds using hot-air driers and women 13.3 seconds – a fraction of the time needed.
Paper towels also scored higher because the rubbing motion may physically remove germs.

By contrast, air driers may blow them on to the body – a concern in public toilets, where regular flushing of cisterns disperses germs in the air.
'This can increase the number of germs by an astonishing 255 per cent,' said Keith Redway, senior academic in Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Westminster University.
Bacteria are then blown on to the hands of users and into the atmosphere.
This leads to the potential for the spread of organisms such as salmonella and E. coli, as people often dry their hands before cleaning them properly.
In the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal, Dr Huang, of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, said: ‘There is a risk of persons standing at air driers acquiring the bacteria dispersed in the air current towards them.

Click Here to read article in its entirety