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Infection Prevention and Janitorial Services

by Sep 15, 2017Clean Workplace Tips, Janitorial Services

The focus of green janitorial services has always been cleaning for health by preventing the dangerous growth and spread of infectious disease and bacteria through scientifically backed products and techniques. 

Green janitorial services play a vital role in the prevention of the spread an ever-growing array of infectious disease and bacteria, some of which has mutated as a result of poorly conceived toxic chemical disinfectants that have given rise to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

A recent publication by ISSA reported several concerning outbreaks, specifically:

  • Influenza A – The most dangerous flu strain. andnbsp;Common variations include H1N1 (Spanish Flu), and H5N1 (Bird Flu).
  • Ebola – A horrific disease with varying symptoms that is past through human contact with infected fluids, with a 25%-90% reported fatality rate, depending on the outbreak.
  • Enterovirus D68 – An ever-present virus that causes a range of symptoms, from mild flu-like to difficulty breathing, with the last major outbreak reported in the U.S. in 2014.
  • The common cold and flu – Typically caused seasonally by the Rhinovirus, or other strains of Influenza, with symptoms ranging from benign coughs and runny nosesandnbsp;to extremely dangerous fever temperatures, especially in children, or those with compromised immune systems.

For more information:

Fortunately, there are several cost-effective methods that anyone can apply in their home, office, or medical facility to safely eliminate the spread of dangerous diseases, without damaging any individuals personal health, or the environment.

The Need for Green in Infection Prevention and Control

The most pressing need for adequate infection prevention is in hospitals and surgery centers where patients are at a heightened risk of potentially fatal disease acquisition, commonly referred to as Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI).

According to Practice Greenhealth;

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) direct costs are between $35.7–45 billion annually and result in almost 100,000 deaths in the US.

Infection Prevention and Green Cleaning

Another area of concern is schools and daycare facilities where children readily come into contact with a vast array of viruses and bacteria, but likely do not possess the immune system to fight off infections as readily as adults.

This is especially true with children under the age of five.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC);

Thousands of children younger than 5 years are hospitalized from flu complications every year. CDC estimates that since 2010, flu-related hospitalizations among children younger than 5 years ranged from 7,000 to 26,000 in the United States. Influenza causes more hospitalizations among young children than any other vaccine-preventable disease.

Influenza (Flu) -Information for Schools and Childcare Providers

Unfortunately, the chemicals traditionally used by janitorial services vendors to sanitize and disinfect schools and medical facilities have caused almost as much harm as good.

The most commonly employed disinfectant in any environment is chlorine bleach, which may, depending on the manufacturing process, contain mercury or other dangerous ‘proprietary ingredients’.

However, the chief source of concern is the primary active ingredient, Sodium Hypochlorite, which is listed on the:

  • Right to Know Hazardous Substance List, and;
  • Special Health Hazard Substance List.

Sodium Hypochlorite can cause or aggravate respiratory issues, is extremely dangerous to come into physical contact with, and is potentially deadly if swallowed.

Bleach requires, what is referred to as a lay time, to fully disinfect a surface, often leaving a film behind as it evaporates – a process that can lead to significant health problems, depending on levels of exposure, including:

  • Skin irritation, rashes, burns, and blisters.
  • Eye irritation and damage with direct contact.
  • Respiratory irritation with limited exposure.
  • Headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Bronchitis, and;
  • Asthma.

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Green Cleaning Tips for Infection Control and Prevention

Green cleaning products eliminate the need for bleach and other toxic chemical use while providing an equivalent level of disinfection without the hazardous side effects.

  • Identify all current chemicals and practices currently employed, and analyze product labels for probable health hazards.
  • Establish product purchasing guidelines that align with Green Seal certified chemical cleaner use.
  • Switch from cloth or cotton mops and towels to microfiber to maximize efficiency and the efficacy of disinfection tasks.
  • Use Green Seal certified disinfectant wipes on high-touch surfaces, such as computer equipment, light switches, and desktops after use, if someone ill comes into contact with them, and especially in surgical rooms.
  • Investigate the feasibility of installing chemical/hands-free cleaning systems, such as UV lighting in restrooms and ORs.

References and Resources

Takeaway

As our communities grow closer together and become more connected, the risk of exposure to infectious disease and bacteria increases.

Outbreaks of recent diseases have proven to be an incredible strain on available medical and personnel resources, as well as community and personal finances.

The use of toxic chemical disinfectants in janitorial services has been linked to the increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, most notably, MRSA, as well as numerous other adverse short and long-term negative health effects.

Eliminating the use of chlorine-based bleach in favor of safer and healthier chemicals and techniques can have a tremendously positive impact on the health and safety of students, employees, patients, and customers at a cost-effective price point, with rapid realization of financial investment return.

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