Archive for the ‘Cleaning & Disinfecting’ Category

Identifying and eradicating biofilm (with HOCL)

November 12, 2018

Steps to eliminate an age-old hazard from the health care environment

June 6, 2018

John Scherberger, FAHE, CHESP

Biofilms serve as protective coatings for microbes to shield them from unfavorable environments.

Biofilms are complex colonies of microorganisms that serve as protective coatings for microbes to shield them from unfavorable environments such as heat, ultraviolet light, cold, disinfectant chemicals and antibacterial drugs used in health care.

The components of biofilm greatly heighten bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics, thus enhancing the longevity and potential harm caused by bacteria.

RELATED ARTICLE

It often appears as slime and discoloring that can be seen in sink and floor drains, buildup around leaking faucets and faucet sprayers, unused toilets and floor mop sinks, hoppers found in soiled utility rooms in hospitals and janitors’ closets in commercial buildings. But biofilm is not always easily seen because it is found in many out-of-the-way locations such as air handlers, air conditioning evaporation trays, water cooling towers, and water coolers, features and fountains.

When biofilm is seen and (most often) not seen, bacteria are present and must be treated and approached with caution and concern.

Biofilm and health

Biofilm has existed as long as bacteria have been on the planet. But it wasn’t until the early 1970s that scientists began to understand the major impact biofilm had on human health; and scientists only began to understand the complexity of biofilms in the 1980s and 1990s.

It is not just an annoyance or another nuisance to be casually addressed by environmental services (ES) or facilities departments. It is an ever-present threat to health and the environment.

RESOURCES

For instance, recent studies and investigations have shown that biofilm has been a major contributing factor in harm caused by improper or incomplete processing of medical devices and implants such as catheters, prosthetic joints and heart valves. Despite standardized processes thought to be effective at sterilizing medical instruments, biofilm is so pervasive and robust that numerous serious patient outcomes have resulted.

Failure to properly reprocess medical instruments to eradicate and remove biofilm during reprocessing of instruments like endoscopes prior to surgical procedures has resulted in infections such as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) being transferred to patients. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established new procedures to ensure biofilm eradication is addressed when endoscopes are processed.

A hospital must be addressed in a universal manner because one area can have an impact upon another — even on other floors or nonintegrated departments. Too often, ES departments are not called upon to address issues found in nonclinical areas of hospitals.

For example, one area not typically addressed by the ES department in its constant pursuit of hygienic patient environments is food service facilities and locations. Biofilm is not only a constant concern as a source of food spoilage, but also food contact and preparation surface contact because, once food contact surfaces become contaminated with biofilm, it is much more difficult to eradicate the exopolysaccharides and bacterial cells of the bacteria.

Eradication and removal

Bacteria communicate and collaborate via chemical interactions for survival. To eradicate and remove bacteria and biofilm from the health care environment, a multidisciplinary and multimodal approach is essential. No one department can succeed and no one department has all the answers.

Biofilm is dangerous to immunocompromised patients. Therefore, removal and eradication must be concentrated and strategically approached.

Multidisciplinary teams must identify potential sites for targeting, which may include hot and cold water supply lines, idle faucets, drains, bathrooms, floors, moist/damp areas, soiled utility rooms, soiled laundry shafts, ice machine drains and dispensing chutes, water fountains, boiler rooms, air vents and many other areas.

Health facilities professionals who are responsible for the hospital environment must recognize that biofilm is not always seen by casual visual inspection and presents a real danger. These disciplines must also recognize that appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) always should be used when addressing the removal of biofilm as the nature/virulence of a biofilm always must be considered suspect.

Facilities professionals tasked with locating, eradicating and removing biofilm also should be trained and educated regarding why they should look for it, what to look for and how to eradicate and remove biofilm once located.

Often, those responsible for carrying out biofilm removal are just told to “do it” or “get it done” without any specific directions or knowledge. Left to one’s own inventiveness or lack thereof, results are often minimal or even disastrous.

For example, thinking that pouring bleach or a bleach solution down a drain or on a surface will terminate the issue is shortsighted. Biofilm is produced to protect bacteria from harsh environments and disinfectants such as bleach, and antibiotics fall into the definition of a harsh environment.

ES professionals also should recognize that bleach does not clean; rather it is an oxidizer and disinfectant. Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant that is as effective as bleach (if not more) in the biofilm-abolition process and is much safer for the environment, metals, staff and PPE. The odor is not noxious and thus safer for all concerned, particularly if removing biofilm from a closed and fresh-air-deprived environment.

Additionally, hospitals are subject to EPA regulations regarding discharge of residual chlorine into wastewater. If an incorrect solution is applied, the possibility exists of exceeding the maximum residual chlorine level into the waste stream.

HOCl is considered a safe alternative to bleach for its disinfecting ability and is safer for personnel to use. However, ES professionals must have a complete understanding of both bleach and HOCl reactivity. With both solutions, there is still the potential for danger if ammonia is present. Both solutions, when mixed with ammonia, are hazardous. Neither HOCl nor sodium hypochlorite should ever be introduced directly into any drain without first flushing the drain with clean water. If ammonia in any form is present, doing so may result in chloramine gas being released, which may cause respiratory distress or death.

Disruption and eradication

Biofilm in the health care environment — as opposed to being present on implants or other implements introduced into a body — must be disrupted through mechanical or physical action.

Once a multidisciplinary and multimodal team has been identified and trained, how the process is implemented is vital. The following actions may be used or adapted by ES professionals:

  • If possible, determine the type or identity of the biofilm to be removed to know the best process to implement.
  • Discuss what chemical/disinfectant is to be used and how it is to be applied.
  • The decision to manually scrub with a brush and a bucket of cleaner/disinfectant is usually one of the first to be considered and dismissed. But, just as in medicine, the guiding principle for removal and eradication of biofilm should be to use the most appropriate and efficient method without disrupting or causing harm to surrounding areas.
  • Scrubbing or high-pressure spraying is most often the choice, but must be appropriate to the environment and conditions personnel may encounter. Methods and chemicals will be dictated by accessibility, electrical considerations, the patient care environment and restricted areas such as pharmacies, intensive care units or research labs.
  • Steam is also one of the most useful multimodal interventions that can be used in combating biofilm. Two types of steam generators are normally available for health care ES: low-pressure/high temperature electric powered, usually with a self-contained steam chamber that uses manual effort in combination with mechanical action (brushes or microfiber cloths) designed for small spaces; and high-pressure/high-temperature generators that are fully electric or a combination of electric/gas units connected to water supply sources via hoses. These units rely on high-pressure water nozzles to disrupt and remove biofilm. The high temperature of both types of generators dislocates and kills the cells, and the manual or mechanical pressure physically removes the biofilm and most biofilm molecules from surfaces. Again, the environment in which the biofilm is located must be considered.
  • The physical removal of the biofilm must be followed by removing any remaining contaminated water from floor, metal or other surfaces lest any bacteria remaining be allowed to repopulate the contact surfaces.
  • The previous step should be followed by a clean-water rinse followed by an application of a properly diluted solution of a germicidal agent such as HOCl.

Proper and appropriate PPE must be used and documented. Implementation of the buddy system — especially in closed and potentially dangerous environments — must be followed.

ES professionals must use safe and effective cleaners and disinfectants for cleaning and disinfecting brushes, wipers, buckets, scrapers, mops, steam generators, wet vacuum cleaners and attachments, and clothing/footwear that may have been contaminated. Proper hand washing after completion of the assigned tasks must be followed as well.

Training required

Proper processing of clinical and aesthetic surfaces (cleaning and disinfecting with proper tools that trap and remove bacteria and unseen biofilm) is an essential step toward the goal of a healthy, hygienic patient care environment. Biofilm will never be completely eradicated from the health care environment, but every reasonable effort to prevent its presence and proliferation must be taken.

Formal training of ES and facilities staff regarding the virulence and ubiquitous nature of biofilm must be a priority.

The Association for the Healthcare Environment’s Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional, Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technician and Certified Surgical Cleaning Technician programs are excellent first steps in addressing the importance of proper processes and techniques to address biofilm.

John Scherberger, FAHE, CHESP, is president and founder of Healthcare Risk Mitigation, Spartanburg, S.C. He can be contacted via email at jfscherberger@me.com.

Air Purification in Inhabited Rooms by Spraying or Atomizing Hypochlorites (HOCL).

November 10, 2018

Author(s) : MASTERMAN, A. T.

Journal article : Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology 1938 Vol.20 pp.278-88

Abstract : A sodium hypochlorite solution containing sodium chloride was atomized and the rate of progress of the vapour followed by means of a series of Bunsen burners placed at increasing distances from the atomizer. The yellow sodium flame indicated when the vapour reached the burner and also how long it persisted in the neighbourhood. The rates of travel varied in different experiments, but in one experiment quoted, in which the sprayer was worked at 4 1b. per sq. inch air pressure and in which a hypochlorite solution containing 0.05 per cent. available chlorine was used, the spray travelled 20 feet in under two minutes and persisted for over 20 minutes. Experiments were carried out by exposing Petri dishes containing nutrient agar at different parts of a room or factory in which numbers of people were working, and measuring the degree of air purification that occurred following a single spraying by the decrease in the number of colonies developing. In different experiments it was found that the plate count 1-5 hours after spraying might show a reduction of 90 per. cent. on the .initial count. The proportion of active chlorine needed was not determined precisely, though in one experiment a concentration of 0.14 mgm. of active chlorine per cu. ft. appeared to yield satisfactory results. Assuming that the chlorine was in the form of hypochlorous acid gas, this would represent a concentration by volume of one part in six millions. No discomfort was caused to any of the occupants of the room or factories. G. S. Wilson.

Record Number : 19382701336

Descriptor(s) : chlorine, factories, feet, occupational health, purification, sodium chloride, sodium hypochlorite, spraying

Identifier(s) : NaCl

 

HOCL & NaOH SHOULD HAVE EVERYONE’S INTEREST

November 8, 2018

Some of the truths about to be stated may be hard to admit.  Nevertheless, let our blunt approach be a wake-up call that empowers you to make real conversion to HOCL & NaOH SOLUTIONS.

The characteristics of HOCL & NaOH should be of interest to Environmental Services (EVS)and Infection Preventionists (IP), but few are joining the knowledge parade or paying serious attention.

The good news is that other actively-engaged professionals are now recognizing that HOCL & NaOH are ready-to-use, low-cost SOLUTIONS that render healthcare facilities really safe and hygienic.  And, these SOLUTIONS are safe when discharged into the environment.

Over the years, EVS and IP resistance has centered around 1) wanting to avoid being first, and 2) wanting to speak to “someone in a local hospital” rather than accept that a number of nationally-recognized hospitals have made successful HOCL & NaOH conversion.

HARD TO BELIEVE

EVS & IP are reluctant to drop using their chemical distributor in spite of their awareness that on-site generated HOCL & NaOH SOLUTIONS are less expensive and more-effective cleaners and disinfectants.

Insisting that only EPA registered disinfectants can be used, EVS & IP fail to grasp that the HOCL SOLUTION generated is an EPA registered hospital-grade disinfectant … while the Aquaox on-site generator itself is not.

Aquaox Infection Control Systems include two EPA registered disinfectants.  Rather than accepting HOCL efficacy data and combined label claims, IP looks for off-label microorganisms (not found on chemical labels, either).  So, what is enabling big companies to continue providing chemicals unsound for humans, facilities and the environment?

ORGANIZATIONAL DYSFUNCTION

Failure to share, cooperate and collaborate leads to the dysfunction of departments and disciplines responsible for ensuring hygienic equipment and outcomes.

Until EVS leaders take responsibility to become more educated and aware of issues historically outside their wheelhouse, they cannot be effective centers of influence in their hospitals.

Support for using HOCL and NaOH solutions must come from the board of directors and facility manager.

The most effective approach is TOP-DOWN directive from the Board and/or C-level executive(s) that the EVS (contract cleaners) use only on-site generated HOCL & NaOH SOLUTIONS and that their company is subject to dismissal should they bring on property any unapproved (specialty) chemicals or attempt to push other disinfection methods.

When top management is truly ready to make a change for the better – they can have improvements in hygiene cleanliness and really effective discharge-room outcomes that result in reduced infection rates and bring higher patient satisfaction ratings.

Lip service does not bring back lives lost due to failure to reduce HAI rates.

The real fear ought to be what happens when not making the conversion.

Again, let our blunt approach be a wake-up call that empowers you to make a clean conversion with HOCL & NaOH SOLUTIONS.

Aquaox’ years of onsite experience validates that disinfectants do not effectively remove debris. Keeping surfaces clean requires effective, periodical cleaning using a detergent. Then, spray disinfectant and let air-dry.

For more information, contact Michel van Schaik at 800.790.7520. info@aquaox.net/info@greenspeed.biz

Defining the ideal disinfectant against microorganisms and the development to create this superior environmental friendly disinfectant.

September 15, 2013

General

An ideal disinfectant should posses high bactericidal activity, long shelf life, be ready for use without any preliminary activation and utilized after use without negative effect to the environment. Long storing of stable chemicals is available, but their utilization requires equivalent activation by another agent or energy. Therefore, combination of stability and easy utilization is impossible.

In order to exclude the preliminary activation stage before usage of a liquid chemical germicide, it should be noted that all variety of biocidal agents are belong to few classes of chemicals well-known for tens of years.

Appearance of new class of chemicals, which will meet the requirement, is unlikely. Modern tendency in developing new disinfectants is in search for activation means of known disinfectants, and not the creation of new ones. Addition of activators using an extra physical influence, i.e. creating conditions converting active ingredients into metastable state at the moment of disinfection, is one of main directions for the disinfection efficacy improvement.

Interaction disinfectants and microorganisms’ cell membrane.

Due to complexity and multi-functionality of microorganisms’ membrane specific interaction between membrane’s biopolymers and abovementioned chemicals is hardly studied at all.

Cytoplasmic membrane is extremely vitally important structure of any cells including microbes. Organic compounds are part of it and have many reactive groups that cause a high sensitiveness of membrane to damaging factors of different nature. It is known that high concentration of membrane-attacking agents destroy biopolymers of membrane, resulting in damaging lysis of microbe’s cell. The same chemicals in small doses affect membrane functions – change osmotic pressure, permeability, transport processes of molecules and ions through membrane, inhibit metabolic processes, bio-oxidation and cell divisions.

Cationic surfactants (quarternary ammonium compounds) are concentrated at membrane and bind with phosphatidic groups of its lipids; anionic surfactants such as alkaline detergents, alkyl- and arylsulfones, iodophors react with membrane lipids. Phenols and alcohols dissolve lipid’s fragments of membrane.

After disinfection treatment is completed, the moist surfaces get dry, so organic compounds are concentrated in a volume of porous material and turn into superfine and invisible to the eye film. Then it evaporates by sublimation with less intensity than under evaporation during wet treatment. Formed aerosol frequently has no smell that creates illusions of its harmlessness. One should take into account that in accordance with known physical laws each liter of the air in the room contains about some milliards of molecules of matter vaporized with natural course or due to sublimation even if its concentration could be hardly measured and does not exceed hundreds or thousands parts from maximum permissible concentration (MPC). During breathing as well as through the skin and mucous membrane such molecules penetrate to human organism (patients or medical staff) and each one of it keeps realizing its main function – suppression of vital function of cells, but this time in a human body. Stability of liquid chemical germicides creates their accumulation in organism followed by migration through digestive cycle.

Colonies of microorganisms form resistance to dry inefficient disinfectant and start using it as a nutrient medium. Processes as described above have recently become an object of attention; so it is in a stage of study now.

It is quite evident that the development of new liquid chemical germicides which allow bacteria to develop resistance in a short period of time, creates conditions for improvement of mutability mechanism of pathogens and initiates appearance of new isolates of microorganisms.

Today by efficacy of disinfectants is implied its spectrum of biocidal activity. Efficacy also relates to exposure time required for disinfection. However, taking a broad view on the subject we should say that disinfectant is effective only in the case it has a broad spectrum of biocidal activity and does not stimulate microorganism’s adaptation during a long-term use. In other words, effective disinfectant must be used for years with certainty that microorganisms could not form adaptation to it for principal reasons.

Mechanism of Antibacterial defence

Let us consider a mechanism of antibacterial defense created by nature and functions in internal environment of life organisms – from unicellular organisms up to human – over million of years and without any fail.

It is proved that leading role in bactericidal effect of neutrophils belongs to hypochlorous acid (HOCL) made by phagocytes. Under respiratory burst about 28% of oxygen used by neutrophils is spent for formation of HOCL. HOCL is generated from hydrogen peroxide and chloride-ions in neutrophils. Catalyst of this reaction is myeloperoxidase (MPO):

H2O2 + Cl [Cat (МPО)] HOCL + OH [9, 10].

Hypochlorous acid dissociates in aqueous media with formation of hypochlorite-anion and hydrogen-ion:

HOCL ClO + Н+.

Concentrations of HOCL and hypochlorite-anions ClO are almost equal at neutral pH. A decrease in pH shifts reaction balance towards to HOCL, and an increase of pH raises concentration of hypochlorite-anions.

A formation of H2O2 and HOCL in a short time (fractions of a second) in a little volume of aqueous media (parts of microliter, in a volume of active zone of phagocytosis) – inevitably must be followed by reactions of spontaneous decomposition and interaction of reaction products with formation of active particles similar to once formed by radiolysis or electrolysis of water.

Spontaneous decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in aqueous media is followed by formation of highly active biocides (in parenthesis appropriate reactions are presented):

HO2 – hydroperoxide-anion (H2O2 + OH HO2 + H2O);

О22 – peroxide-anion (OH + HO2 O22 + H2O);

О2 – superoxide-anion (O22 + H2O2 O2 + OH + OH );

НО2 – hydrogen peroxide radical (НO + H2O2 H2O + HO2);

HO2 – hydrogen super-oxide (O2 + H2O HO2 + OH).

At the same time it is possible the formation of extremely reactive singlet oxygen 1О2 : (ClO + H2O2 1О2 + H2O + Cl ). Participation of molecular oxygen ion-radical О2 in reactions of phagocytosis is determined experimentally. One of the described above could be the way of its formation.

Formation of free radicals СlO, Сl, НО is possible in aqueous media in presence of НСlО and СlO

HOCL + ClO ClO + Cl + НO.

By modern theory of catalytic processes, a formation of interim activated complex with myeloperoxidase as a catalyst seems also to be most possivle. A dissociation of this complex is followed by formation of О , and medium acidification:

HOCL + ClO [HOCL Cat (МПО) ClO ] 2Сl + 2O + Н+

Active hypochlorite radical СlO can participate in reactions of atomic oxygen (O ) and hydroxyl radical (НO ) formation:

СlO + СlO + ОН Сl + 2O + ОН.

Followed by formation of chlorine radicals:

OH + Cl Cl + OH.

Formed radicals and atomic oxygen take part in microbe’s destruction, oxidizing biopolymers, for example, by the following:

RH2 + OH RH + H2O;

RH2 + Cl RH + HCl;

RH2 + O RH + OH .

A metastable mixture of compounds formed during phagocytosis is a very effective mean for microbe’s destruction due to many spontaneous realized possibilities of changing (irreversible damage) of essential functions of microorganism’s biopolymers at a level of electron transmission. Metastable particles with different values of electrochemical potential possess universal spectrum of action, i.e. they are able to damage all large systematic groups of microorganisms (bacteria, mycobacteria, viruses, funguses, spores) and without damaging of human tissues and other multicellular system organisms.

That can be explained by texture and living activities of cells of that living organisms. Cells of multicellular organisms during their life process, for example, in oxygenase’s reactions of cytochrome P-450, during phagocytosis under microbe’s adhesion and cidal action produce a range of highly efficient oxidants. These cells have a strong chemical system of antioxidant protection with preventing a toxic effect of such compounds on vitally important cellular structures. Antioxidant properties of somatic cells are related to a presence of a strong three-layered lipoprotein’s shell that contains diene conjugates (–С=С–) possessing electron-donor properties and sulfhydric groups (SH). Microorganisms do not have strong mechanisms of antioxidant protection due to absence of mentioned chemical groups.

All somatic cells of living organisms are heterotrophs: their trophism depends on availability of nutritive materials in extracellular medium – glucose, amino acids, fatty acids. Though biological well-being of any somatic cell is up to place it keeps in a process of dispensing of trophic functions of all elements of multicellular system (cell is supported by cell).

Trophic functions of multicellular organisms cells are obeyed to interchangeability law. If a trophism of single cell is disturbed, then this disturbance can be corrected by neurotrophic regulation, functions of adjoining cells, reparative processes, nutritive function of blood and so on.

All microbe’s cells are autotrophs, so their nutrition depends on their own activity, in other words if enzymatic processes in microbe’s cell are depressed, it dies since there is no compensatory mechanism. Microbial cell gets all its trophic functions by enzymatic reactions only. An interaction between microbial cells in their habitat is not a compensatory one, that is to say susceptibility of microbe is in its autonomy.

Natural production of HOCL

Investigations carried out in recent decades indicate that all higher multi-cellular organisms including humans synthesize hypochlorous acid and highly-active meta-stable chlorine-oxygen and hydroperoxide compounds (a meta-stable oxidants’ mixture) in special cellular structures to combat microorganisms and foreign substances. Hypochlorous acid dissociates in aqueous medium forming hypochlorite-anion and hydrogen ion: НOСl OCl + Н+. When рН values are close to neutral, concentrations of НOСl and hypochlorite-anions OCl are approximately equal. Lower рН leads to shift of this reaction equilibrium towards higher concentration of НOСl; higher — towards higher concentration of hypochlorite-anions. Sodium hypochlorite demonstrates a considerably lower bactericidal ability than hypochlorous acid.

The highest bactericidal effect of oxygen chlorine compounds is observed with рН varying from 7.0 to 7.6, where concentrations of hypochlorite-ions and hypochlorous acid are comparable. This is due to the fact that the above compounds being conjugated acid and base (НOCl + Н2О + Н3О+ + OCl; OCl + Н2О + НOСl + ОН) form in the given range a meta-stable system capable of generating a number of compounds and particles possessing a much higher antimicrobial ability than hypochlorous acid: 1O2 — singlet molecular oxygen; СlO — hypochlorite-radical; Сl• — chlorine-radical (atomic chlorine); О — atomic oxygen; ОН — hydroxyl radical. Catalysts of reactions with chlorine-oxygen compounds are Н+ and ОНions present in water also in approximately equal quantity at рН value close to neutral one.

Chemical production of HOCL

A unique ability of hypochlorous acid to form meta-stable, universal in its scope of antimicrobial action oxidant mixture is widely employed in many disinfectant agents based on cyanuric acid salts (Aquatabs, Deochlor, Chlorsept, Presept, Javelion, Chlor-Clean, Sanival and others) making it possible to decrease active chlorine content in disinfectant working solutions at least 10-fold as compared to sodium hypochlorite solutions, antimicrobial activity of the former being higher. Let us take the mechanism of action of Johnson & Johnson’s Presept tablets as an example. The active ingredient is hypochlorous acid formed in the process of sodium dichloroisocyanurate interaction with water at a рН value of 6.2, maintained by adipic acid contained in the tablets.

However, the use of mentioned disinfectant agents based on cyanuric acid salts is unsafe for human and other warm-blooded organisms since it contain a chlorine organic compound, in particular, sodium dichloroisocyanurate, which, unlike inorganic chlorine-oxygen compounds, does not disappear leaving no traces during desiccation, but accumulates in the environment and human body.

The most efficient antimicrobial agents among all generally known liquid sterilizing and disinfectant means, which demonstrate very low toxicity or no toxicity at all for warm-blooded animals, are electrochemically activated solutions, in particular Neutral electrolyzed Water.

Electrochemical activated HOCL

Maximum use of fundamental difference between living organisms of micro- and macro-biological life is an ideological basis of electrochemical activated biocidal liquids.

As physicochemical process electrochemical activation is an electrophysical and electrochemical influence on water that contains ions and molecules of dissolved substances in it. It takes place under conditions of minimal heat release in the area of dimensional charge at the electrode surface (anode or cathode) of electrochemical system at non-equilibrium charge transfer through the interface “electrode – electrolyte” by electrons.

As a result of electrochemical activation water converts into a metastable (activated) condition showing increased reactivity in different physical-chemical processes during some tens hours. Electrochemical activation allows directly change a composition of dissolved gases, acid-base and redox characteristics of water within the bigger scale then under the equivalent chemical regulation. Chemical reagents (oxidants or reducing agents) in metastable condition can be generated from water and dissolved substances. It is used in processes of water purification and disinfection as well as for water or diluted electrolyte solution transformation into ecologically friendly biocidal (disinfecting/sterilizing solution), cleaning, extractive and other functionally useful liquids.

An Electrolytic Flow Cell is used for electrochemical transformation of water and dissolved substances. A distinctive feature of a Flow Cell is in combination of properties of ideal displacement reactor and ideal mixing reactor in one element as well as high technical and economic characteristics at processing of fresh water and low-mineralized liquids.

Very seldom electrochemically activated solutions (Electrolyzed Water or Super-Oxidized Water) is identified with hypochlorous acid. This is due to inadequate awareness and natural tendency to simplify comprehension by classifying electrochemically activated solutions to well-known hypochlorite ones on the basis of their formal resemblance.

Neutral Electrolyzed Water, unlike 0.5-5.0% hypochlorite solutions possessing only disinfectant ability, is a sterilizing solution at oxidant concentration 0.005 to 0.05%.(5-500ppm)

Benefits of Electrochemical activated HOCL

Active ingredients of Electrochemical activated HOCL (Neutral Electrolyzed Water) are chlorine-oxygen compounds НOСl (hypochlorous acid) and OCl (hypochlorite-ion).

The combination of active these active chlorine-oxygen substances avoid that microorganisms adapt or become resistant to Neutral Electrolyzed Water, while low total concentration of chlorine-oxygen compounds guarantee absolute safety for man and the environment in the process of its long-term application.

In other words, a mixture of metastable chlorine-oxygen compounds eliminates microbes’ ability for adaptation to bactericidal effect of Neutral Electrolyzed Water. Thus, only a small concentration of chlorine-oxygen compounds guarantees for absolute safety for man and environment under long-term use of Electrolyzed Water.

Neutral Electrolyzed Water is considered non-toxic due to low content of active substances HOCL and OCL, therefore there is no need to remove it from treated surfaces after treatment.

Total content of active chlorine-oxygen compounds in Neutral Electrolyzed Water oxidant content varies from 50 to 500ppm which is many times lower than in most working solutions of disinfectants routinely used today. Neutral Electrolyzed Water causes no coagulation of protein protecting microorganisms and thanks to its loose structure easily penetrates into micro-channels of living and nonliving matter.

Environmentally friendly electrochemically-activated Neutral Electrolyzed Water has “life time” that is necessary for procedure of disinfection. After its use it spontaneously degrades without formation of toxic xenobiotics and does not require any neutralization before discharging to sewerage.

A chemical potential of molecules and ions in Neutral Electrolyzed Water is much higher than in hypochlorite solutions. A low mineralization of Neutral Electrolyzed Water and its hydration ability helps penetration through cell membrane, creates conditions for intensive osmotic and electro-osmotic oxidant’s transfer into intracellular media. The osmotic transfer of oxidants through shells and membranes of microbe’s cells is more intensive than through membranes of somatic cells due to inherent difference in osmotic gradient of these types of cells. Electrically charged cluster structures formed by dissolved gas molecules in water and electron-active components of medium promote high-speed electro-osmotic carry of oxidants into bacterial cell, because this clusters produce strong local electric fields with high heterogeneity in zones of contact with biopolymers.

Neutral Electrolyzed Water kills microorganisms of bacterial, viral and fungous etiology (Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudumonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, hepatitis B virus, poliomyelitis virus, HIV, adenovirus, pathogens of tuberculosis, salmonellosis, dermatomycosis and others). By its efficacy Electrolyzed Water greatly exceeds chloramines, sodium hypochlorite and overwhelming majority of other disinfectants and sterilizing agents.

A sum of active chlorine-oxygen compounds in Neutral Electrolyzed Water (total oxidant content) is within 50 to 500 mg/l, that is many times less than in most solutions of currently used disinfectants. Neutral Electrolyzed Water does not cause coagulation of protein that protects microorganisms and, due to its loosened structure, easily penetrate into pinholes of living and lifeless matter.

Neutral Electrolyzed Water is produced from dilute solution of sodium chloride in drinking water. Total mineralization of initial solution for Neutral Electrolyzed Water is within 0,5 to 5,0 g/l.

Conclusion

To sum up, it can be concluded that the most effective disinfecting liquid in terms of their functional properties and simultaneously very low-toxicity is Neutral Electrolyzed Water (meta-stable low-mineralized chlorine-oxygen antimicrobial solutions), which have no alternative as long as life on Earth is represented by various forms of protein bodies existing in electrolyte of aqueous solutions of mainly sodium and chlorine ions.

ELECTROLYZED WATER FOR HARD SURFACE MEDICAL SANITATION

September 8, 2013

I           INTRODUCTION

There is an epidemic of healthcare acquired infections within hospitals, out-patient surgical centers, nursing homes and medical clinics. The number of hospital acquired infections alone is staggering. About 1 in every 15 patients get an infection while hospitalized and up to 98,000 Americans die from these infections each year. That makes infections the most common complication in hospital care and one of the nation’s top 10 causes of death. In California, an estimated 200,000 patients develop hospital infections each year, resulting in 12,000 deaths.

The problem is much larger than official statisitcs because the numbers fail to account for millions of patients treated in outpatient surgery centers, community clinics, nursing homes and other care facilities.

About six and one half percent of patients admitted to US hospitals—nearly 5,500 daily, or two million annually—get sick from a hospital-acquired infection. This adds 19 days of hospitalization and $43,000 in costs totaling more than $45 billion a year to U.S. medical bills

Under the new Affordable Healthcare Law consumers will be able to learn hospital infection rates. Hospital Infection rate information will be posted on a Department Health and Human Services website called Hospital Compare. This new reporting requirements applies to hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs which are virtually every hospital in the country. Beginning in October 2012, Medicare payments to hospitals will be tied to how well they protect patients from these infections. Hospitals with infection rates exceeding national averages will lose 1 percent of their Medicare funding, starting in 2015. This is a huge dollar amount considering the federal government spent $563 billion last year on 49 million recipients and Medicare spending is expected to grow to $970 billion by 2021.

II        MARKET

Hospital Cleaning is the removal of all dust, oil, and organic materials such as blood, secretions, excretions and microorganisms. Cleaning reduces or eliminates the populations of potential pathogenic organisms. It is accomplished with water, detergents and mechanical action. Hospital Disinfection is the inactivation of disease producing organisms. Disinfection does not destroy high levels of bacterial spores. Disinfectants are used on inanimate objects. Disinfection usually involves chemicals, heat or ultraviolet light. Levels of chemical disinfection vary with the type of product used.

 There are three types of cleaning and disinfection markets within hospitals and healthcare facilities. These are critical, semi-critical and non-critical.

A.        Critical Applications

Medical devices and items that represent a high risk for infection if they are contaminated with any microorganism. Objects that enter sterile tissue or the vascular system must be sterile because any microbial contamination could transmit disease. Critical cleaning and disinfection includes surgical instruments, cardiac and urinary catheters, implants, and ultrasound probes used in sterile body cavities. These items are to be sterilized with steam if possible. Heat-sensitive objects can be treated with EtO, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma; or if other methods are unsuitable, by liquid chemical sterilants.

B.         Semi-Critical Application

Devices to include vaginal-rectal ultrasound probes, endoscopes, laryngoscope blades, cystoscopes, esophageal manometry probes, anorectal manometry catheters, respiratory/anesthesia equipment, all GI scopes, transesophageal echocardiogram probes and rhinoscopes. Medical devices and equipment that contact mucous membranes or non-intact skin minimally require high-level disinfection.

C.        Non-Critical Applications

Devices are those that come in contact with intact skin but not mucous membranes.  Intact skin acts as an effective barrier to most microorganisms; therefore, the sterility of items coming in contact with intact skin is “not critical.”  Non-critical items are divided into non-critical patient care items and non-critical environmental surfaces.  Non-critical patient-care items are bedpans, blood pressure cuffs, crutches and computers.

III        TERMINAL ROOM CLEANING

 A segment within the non-critical environmental surfaces market is Terminal Room Cleaning. Terminal Room Cleaning means a thorough cleaning of a patient room after being discharged. The concept is to eliminate the residual bacteria left in a “contaminated room” whether it is a hospital room, OR room, ER room, nursing home room or any room in which another patient can potentially come into contact. The potential market of Terminal Room Cleaning is huge. For example, there are 35,000,000 patient “discharges” per year in more than 7000 hospitals and 15,000 outpatient surgery centers.

Transmission of many healthcare acquired infections are related to contamination of patient surfaces, in-room equipment, high touch surfaces with patient rooms.

Patients shed microorganisms into their environment by coughing, sneezing or having diarrhea. Bacteria and viruses can survive for weeks or months on dry surfaces in a patient environment. When another patient, doctor, nurse or visitor, touches that surface the microorganisms are transmitted throughout the hospital. The following are example of “at-risk” patient environments.

  1. Acute Care, the patient environment is the area inside the curtain, including all items and equipment used in his/her care, as well as the bathroom that the patient uses.
  2. Intensive Care Units (ICUs), the patient environment is the room or bed space and items and equipment inside the room or bed space.
  3. Nursery/Neonatal setting, the patient environment is the bassinet and equipment outside the bassinet that is used for the infant.
  4. Ambulatory Care, the patient environment is the immediate vicinity of the examination or treatment table or chair and waiting areas.
  5. Long-term care, the resident environment includes their individual environment (e.g., bed space, bathroom) and personal mobility devices (e.g., wheelchair, walker).

Terminal Room cleaning is performed by the Environmental Services Staff. The cleaning includes emptying trash and removing any loose items, changing bed linen, wiping the mattress with a disinfectant, washing walls with detergent, cleaning bathroom sink and toilet with a disinfectant, wiping all bed rails, tables, light switches, door handles, telephone, call buttons, privacy curtain and other “high touch” items with a disinfectant then mop the floor with a detergent cleaner and disinfectant. Once the Environmental Staff completes the terminal room cleaning, the Environmental Service Supervisor inspects the room. The Supervisor will look for any visible dirt, blood, secretions, etc. They will also use a bio-luminescence meter to measure bacterial contamination. If the Environmental Service Supervisor rejects a room, the entire room is re-clean and disinfected.

IV        ELECTROLYZED WATER OPPORTUNTY

In the US the average time from patient discharge to another patient occupying the same room is 27 minutes. The work required (as noted above) by the Environmental Service Staff to terminally clean the discharged patient room in the 27-minute timeframe is almost impossible. This creates extreme pressure and stress on the Environmental Service Staff resulting in poor cleaning and very high job turnover. Other factors contributing to poor cleaning and high turnover is the use of toxic and corrosive detergents and disinfectants. To improve cleaning performance, stronger and more toxic chemicals are required. However, these chemicals slow down cleaning time. The Staff must be more careful in handling these chemicals, adding a rinse step and allow time for the room to dry and “air out”.

Using stronger and more toxic cleaning and disinfecting chemicals does not always provide the level of disinfecting required by hospital guidelines. The over prescribed use of antibiotics have created “super-bugs”. These “super-bugs” can develop a resistance to disinfectants. There are sixteen hospital identified “super-bugs”. A few of these are MRSA (methicillan resistant staphylococcus aureaus), C. diff (clostridium difficle), VRE (vancomycin resistant enterococci) and acinetobactor baumannii.

To reduce the human factor in terminal room cleaning and eliminate the chemical resistance of “super-bugs” new technologies have been developed and are currently marketed. One new technology is called VHP (vaporize hydrogen peroxide). VHP meets and exceeds hospital guidelines for environmental surface disinfection.  The guideline for hospital cleaning was developed by HICPAC (Hospital Infection Control Procedures Advisory Committee). This committee is Infection Control doctors and researchers within the medical community specializing in Non-Critical Environmental surface disinfection. The level of surface disinfection for terminal room cleaning is called 6-log reduction. 6-log cleanliness is basically a sterile surface. VHP provides 6-log surface cleanliness but requires 4 hours to clean, disinfect and “air out” the room. In addition the Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide equipment cost more than $200,000 and requires a company representative located full-time at the hospital to operate the equipment.

Another new technology for terminal room cleaning is UV-C light. UV light has been used for surface disinfection for many years. Used properly UV-C can provide a 6-log level of disinfection. However, UV-C is difficult to use because the light must be directed at an exact angle to the surface, the light requires a long contact time and the light must be checked regularly to insure the proper wavelength. A properly cleaned and disinfected room using UV-C equipment takes more than 90 minutes.

These technologies and others meet the HICPAC cleaning guidelines for terminal room cleaning but they do not come close to the time requirements for most hospitals. Electrolyzed Water is the only new technology that can provide 6-log disinfection within the 27-minute time requirement. In addition electrolyzed water is non-toxic, requires no chemical storage, mixing, dries faster and does not require Staff to wear protective clothing. Electrolyzed water can eliminate the pressure and stress of the Environmental Service Staff reducing turnover. It has no odor or chemical residue that can cause patient sensitivities.

After years of working in hospitals with Environmental Service and Infection Control Professionals, the most important cleaning solution proved to be electrolyzed alkaline water. Alkaline water’s cleaning performance is due to its alkalinity and very negative ORP (oxidation-reduction potential). The more negative the solution the greater cleaning power and faster drying properties. Electrolyzed Alkaline Water’s negative ORP has a very short shelf life. It is usually less than 1 hour in an open container exposed to air.  The key for electrolyzed water technology’s acceptance in hospitals is making the Environmental Service Staff job easier, safer and less pressure. As a result, electrolyzed water must be a direct replacement to detergents and work in their cleaning process. For example, the Environmental Service Staff at the start of their shift fill an open container with a detergent solution and add 8 to 10 micro-fiber mop heads. One mop head per room is used to mop walls and floors. As the staff changes mop heads and agitates the solution, the ORP of ordinary electrolyzed alkaline water is quickly lost. However, a patent-pending product enhancement (enhanced alkaline water) preserves the negative ORP and actually continues the electrolysis process maintaining the alkaline water above pH11. The product will keep the alkaline water’s pH and ORP for at least 1 day. Enhanced alkaline water can be used into the mop head containers, spray bottles or other applicators. The product will maintain negative ORP with the addition of dyes, surfactants or other cleaning aids.

Once surfaces are cleaned with alkaline water, the surface has a negative charge. At this point, the electrolyzed acidic water disinfectant can be applied with an electrostatic spray device. This device will put a 5 to 10 mil coating on every surface within the room. Electrostatic sprayers can reach every side of a surface even if the sprayer is not pointed directly at the surface. Electrostatic spraying of a patient room takes less than 3 minutes. This technique enables the Environmental Surface Staff to take more time cleaning with the alkaline water and still finish under the 27-minute time requirement.

Electrolyzed Water technology and application equipment can reduce a hospital’s overall chemical costs, cut Environmental Service labor requirements and reduce the hospital liability insurance premiums. This is proven technology that has been used in Japanese hospitals for more than 20 years. In Japan electrolyzed water technology has reduce healthcare acquired infections to less than 2%.

For more information, please contact info@aquaox.net

How bleach kills germs

August 27, 2013

Bleach has been killing germs for more than 200 years but it was only since 2008 that U.S. scientists figured out how the cleaner does its dirty work.

It seems that hypochlorous acid, the active ingredient in bleach, attacks proteins in bacteria, causing them to clump up much like an egg that has been boiled, a team at the University of Michigan reported in the journal Cell on Thursday.

The discovery, which may better explain how humans fight off infections, came quite by accident.

“As so often happens in science, we did not set out to address this question,” Ursula Jakob, who led the team, said in a statement.

The researchers had been studying a bacterial protein called heat shock protein 33, which is a kind of molecular chaperon that becomes active when cells are in distress, for example from the high temperature of a fever.

In this case, the source of the distress was hypochlorous acid or hypochlorite.

Jakob’s team figured out that bleach and high temperatures have very similar effects on proteins.

When they exposed the bacteria to bleach, the heat shock protein became active in an attempt to protect other proteins in the bacteria from losing their chemical structure, forming clumps that would eventually die off.

“Many of the proteins that hypochlorite attacks are essential for bacterial growth, so inactivating those proteins likely kills the bacteria,” Marianne Ilbert, a postdoctoral fellow in Jakob’s lab, said in a statement.

The researchers said the human immune system produces hypochlorous acid in response to infection but the substance does not kill only the bacterial invaders. It kills human cells too, which may explain how tissue is destroyed in chronic inflammation.

“Hypochlorous acid is an important part of host defense,” Jakob said. “It’s not just something we use on our countertops.”

This post has been posted in 2008. Mentioned Journal article available upon request.

Onsite Generation Of Environmentally Friendly CIP Cleaners And Sanitizers

July 28, 2013

Clean-in-place (CIP) is an important part of many food and beverage processes. The need for thorough cleaning and safe production is paramount, but efficiency is also important to ensure operational costs are minimized and plant run time maximized. In today’s markets, there is an increasing need for more frequent product changeover to meet changing and varied consumer demands. This presents increased production challenges and the time to changeover between products becomes an important criterion for operational efficiency.

Situation

An international beverage company faced the challenge of producing an increasing number of difficult-to-clean products (pungent flavors, solid material and increased spoilage potential) at its bottling plants. This was combined with an increasing need to run smaller production runs, requiring more frequent product changeovers which had a significant negative impact on available production time. A keen social ethic to provide sustainable production along with drivers for flexible production and reduced costs led the business to review its CIP processes.

Challenge

The increased use of more pungent product lines with different flavors and additives across the customer’s sites made equipment more difficult to clean from an organoleptic and microbiological standpoint. Frequent product changes meant a solution was required that would improve the process efficacy, lead to better operational efficiency as well as reduce environmental impact — save energy and water, reduce potentially harmful waste streams and improve conditions and safety for plant personnel.

Solution

Electrolyzed cleaning and sanitizing fluids have been shown to maintain or improve cleaning and sanitizing effectiveness within the CIP process. The first step in this project was to go through a rigorous validation process, including microbiological and organoleptic testing, with the customer to prove it safe and effective.

The technology produces a cleaning and/or sanitizing agent through the electrolysis of a solution of sodium chloride or sodium carbonate. The system produces Hypochlorous acid (HOCl), a weak acid but powerful and natural sanitizer also produced by the human body to fight infection. HOCl sanitizes rapidly without the need for heating and, as it is produced from readily available natural materials, offers a highly sustainable sanitation and cleaning solution. The technology uniquely generates fluids at the required concentration with no mixing or dilution required. Without the need to add dilution water, Electrolyzed Water provides superior cleaning and sanitizing as every drop of the solution has been electrolyzed.

Superior cleaning and sanitizing without the need for heating offers reduced cleaning times and increased plant running times. For the beverage company, this is especially critical during seasonal production peaks where maximizing production times is critical to the business. Electrolyzed Water delivers drastically reduced bottle-to-bottle downtime for a traditional full CIP cycle. Typically the time savings is over 50 percent and in many cases, this saves hours per CIP. For product changeover CIP processes, the typical time for Electrolyzed Water is 15 minutes or less — a significant savings compared with the previous technology which took around one hour. This supports the beverage company’s ‘just in time’ production approach, which requires smaller batch runs and more frequent product changeovers.

Continuous production of Electrolyzed Water in large volumes meet the needs of the company’s large facilities. Current systems are fully automated and operators only need to check the salt levels within the system on a weekly basis. Important parameters including fluid concentration are continually monitored and alarms if they fall below acceptable values, shutting down the system to ensure that the Electrolyzed Water produced is within specifications without requiring monitoring by the plant personnel.

Traditional CIP technology uses concentrated chemicals shipped to site which are often applied at elevated temperatures.  Electrolyzed Water is produced on site in volumes to match site demands at any particular time, eliminating waste production and reducing water consumption. Cleaning and sanitizing at ambient temperature reduces the energy consumed for the process and, using just salt and water to create the fluids, both the cleaner and sanitizer are inherently safe and produce a safer, easy-to-handle waste water stream.

For this large beverage company, HOCl has proven to offer superior cleaning and microbiological performance with annual savings of between $50,000 and $120,000 in chemical costs along with an associated $20-50,000 saving in costs for wastewater treatment. The reduced changeover time between products equates to savings between $100,000 and $1 million, depending on the plant production schedule and value assigned to increased plant production line availability.

The on-demand production of cleaning/sanitizing fluid to match the plant’s needs and the improvements in the cleaning process reduce water consumption related to the cleaning and sanitizing processes by an estimated 20-40 percent per year. The use of ambient solutions further reduces maintenance costs associated with the thermal stresses from hot CIP processes. Electrolyzed Water minimizes the impact on the environment with a reduced carbon footprint, reduced water usage and a safe, sustainable production methodology.

Electrolyzed Water systems have delivered significant improvements to plant working conditions. The automation of the system provides a much simpler CIP process. The inherent safety of the fluids, coupled with the ambient temperature application also significantly reduces risks to safety of personnel, who no longer need to be concerned about chemical vapors, risk of caustic burns or hot machinery surfaces during CIP cycles. The value of personnel safety is sometimes difficult to evaluate in monetary terms but is surely one of the most important benefits of the system.

Electrolyzed Water eradicates hospital water bugs

June 28, 2013

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) have developed a new system that eradicates bacterial contamination in hospital water tanks, distribution systems and taps.

They say the new system is highly effective and inexpensive, and could be used throughout the hospital service.

Water contamination was linked to the deaths recently of three babies in a Belfast maternity hospital from pseudomonas infection.

According to the researchers funded by the the Health Research Board and Dublin Dental University Hospital, hospital wash basin taps and output water are reservoirs of bacteria that can lead to serious consequences for patients.

Prof David Coleman of TCD, principal investigator with the project, said hospital water systems and washbasin taps are frequently contaminated with biofilm containing bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

He said at the start of the study, the team measured the amount of bacteria in hot and cold water from the Dental Hospital’s clinic washbasin taps. The predominant bacteria identified were pseudomonas and related species.

The researchers cleaned and disinfected the water system at the hospital and then developed and installed a novel automated water disinfectant system to eradicate miocrobioal contamination on an ongoing basis.

The new system involved treating the water with Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL), an environmentally-friendly disinfectant. Electronic probes constantly monitor the levels of disinfectant in the water and adjust the levels via automated pumps when contamination is found.

The disinfectant is generated by electrochemical activation of a dilute solution using an onsite generator.

Following monitoring over 54 weeks, it was was found that the system virtually eliminated bacteria from taps.

The researchers said their results showed that by systematically destroying bacteria in a hospital’s water distribution network and in the in the supply water, they have devised a consistently effective and safe means of ensuring that hospital water and washbasin taps are no longer reservoirs of contamination that can lead to patient infection.

The HRB/TCD researchers claim their system costs much less than current less efficient water treatment systems and their technology could be adopted in the health service to improve patient safety and reduce running costs.

They have stressed that their new disinfectant system is not harmful for human contact. They are planning to assess the effectiveness of the new system further in a larger hospital as part of their project.

The research is published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: ‘JUST ADD ELECTRICITY’

June 22, 2011

JUNE 8, 2011, 2:06 P.M. ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK — It sounds like a late-night infomercial: Kill germs and clean surfaces with nothing more than water and a few volts of electricity! Pay pennies a gallon! Strong enough to kill germs but gentle on your skin! The use of electricity and water to clean and disinfect has been embraced by some food and hospitality businesses looking to save money and go green by swapping out conventional products.
At busy Whole Foods on Manhattan’s Union Square, workers keep battery-operated spray bottles designed to keep surfaces clean with water packing an electrical charge. Also available are electrolyzed oxidizing water products, or EO water, which are cleaning systems that use salt and electricity to create solutions for cleaning kitchens, prison floors and hotel rooms.  No, these are not miracle elixirs.

While users of the two different types of systems say they save money, start-up costs are far higher than simply buying a bottle of bleach. They’re not suitable for every cleaning job, and different zapped water treatments can lose potency over time. Critics say some of the claims for electrolyzed water in particular — it’s touted as everything from a health drink to a skin treatment — are overblown. Still, studies have shown water exposed to a charge works as a cleaner.
“We use it everywhere,” said Mary Ann Flynn, appearance manager for the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. The school uses EO water. “They fill mop buckets with it. They fill bottles so that the students and the chefs use it in the kitchen.”
The electrolyzed water systems vary, but a common type creates separate streams of disinfectant and cleaner by
running a charge through water exposed to salt. The disinfectant stream mainly contains hypochlorous acid, a form of chlorine. Viking Pure, one of several makers active in the United States, claims its sanitizing solution is effective against a long list of pathogens ranging from listeria to swine flu virus. A big selling point of the machines it sells is that users make the cleaner on the spot so they don’t have to transport chemicals. Viking Pure’s president, Walter Warning, said the “acid water” is so gentle you can spray it on your skin. The same salt-and-electricity process also creates a separate stream of sodium hydroxide, a common ingredient in cleaners. This “alkaline” stream can be used as a general purpose cleaner and degreaser.

Deborah Stone, housekeeping manager for Carolina Designs rental agency at North Carolina’s Outer Banks, swears by it and said some of the biggest problems are convincing workers they can clean without suds. “It’s very difficult for the cleaners to comprehend that because there is no smell and because there are no bubbles, they don’t get the sense that they’re actually cleaning,” Stone said. “You still have those die-hard people that want the suds and the pretty smell.”
Academic researchers have found that electrolyzed systems can be effective cleaners and disinfectants when the process is done correctly.

Professor Ali Demirci of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Pennsylvania State University has researched the use of EO water to decontaminate various food products and clean dairy equipment. He has found it works well for both cleaning equipment surfaces and killing bacteria. Professor Yen-Con Hung of the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of Georgia has studied electrolyzed water for years and said it can be more effective than bleach in many cases. Researchers note that EO water performs best on smooth surfaces. Bassam Annous, a research microbiologist for the federal Agricultural Research Service, has found it does not work well ridding lettuce and apples of E. coli because the water-based solution cannot penetrate the minute crevices where the bacteria can lurk. “This is not a silver bullet,” Hung said. “EO water is not perfect.”

Bob Brown, who is in charge of food safety support for Whole Foods, said that a number of stores in the
mid-Atlantic and Midwest are starting to use the sprayers for cleaning glass and other surfaces, like conveyor
belts. “It’s better for the environment if you’re not using chemicals,” Brown said. “So it’s a green technology that’s
available.” How green? That’s hard to quantify precisely.

In the case of the electric spray bottles, there are no chemicals. Both the spray bottles and the EO water require
electricity, though not much. Activeion’s spray bottle runs on a rechargeable 12-volt battery. Bob Schildgen, aka Mr. Green, the environmental advice columnist at Sierra Club, said comparing a chemical-based cleaner to an electricity-based one is apples to oranges.  “It’s extraordinarily difficult to compare such different processes and come to a firm conclusion on it,” he said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

How to Make Sanitization of Food Related Areas

April 10, 2010

Posted by: admin In: Food Safety and Hygiene

Cleaning

Cleaning is a prerequisite for effective sanitation. Cleaning is the removal of organic matter, using appropriate detergent chemicals under recommended conditions. Organic matter from food residues such as oils, grease and protein not only harbors bacteria but can actually prevent sanitizers from coming into physical contact with the surface to be sanitized. In addition, the presence of organic matter can inactivate or reduce the effectiveness of some types of sanitizers, making sanitization ineffective.

In order for cleaning to be performed properly, the right cleaning agents must be selected for the job. Cleaning agents commonly used include the following:

• Detergents contain surfactants to reduce surface tension between food soil and the surface so the detergent can penetrate quickly and lift off the soil from the surface.

• Solvent cleaners contain a grease-dissolving agent that can be used in areas with burned-on grease.

• Acid cleaners are used on mineral deposits that alkaline detergents cannot remove.

• Abrasive cleaners are used to remove heavy accumulations of soil often found in small areas. The abrasive action is provided by small mineral or metal particles, such as fine steel wool, copper or even nylon.

sanitation

Sanitizing

Sanitization follows cleaning. Sanitization is the application of heat or chemicals to a properly cleaned (and thoroughly rinsed) food-contact surface, yielding a 99.999% reduction of representative pathogenic microorganisms of public health importance. Sanitization is not sterilization. Sterilization is the process of destroying all living microorganisms, not just pathogens. Other terms (and their definitions) that are sometimes confused with sanitization and that should be noted are the following:

Antiseptic—used against sepsis or putrefaction in humans or animals.

Disinfectant/Germicide—applied to inanimate objects to destroy all vegetave cells, not spores.

Bactericide—kills a specific group of microorganisms.

Bactericidal—prevents the growth of a specific group of microorganisms but does not necessarily kill them.

The two sanitation methods commonly used in retail/food service establishments are heat and chemicals. Their application standards, as defined in the 2009 Food Code, are as follows:

Heat. In dish-machines, the temperature of the fresh hot-water sanitizing rinse as it enters the manifold cannot be more than 194 °F (90 °C), less than 165 °F (74 °C) in a stationary rack, single-temperature machine or less than 180 °F (82 °C) in all other high-temperature dish-machines. In three-compartment sinks, the water temperature must be at least 171 °F (77 °C).

Chemicals. Chemicals approved as sanitizers for food-contact surfaces in retail/foodservice establishments are chlorine, iodine and quaternary ammonium.

Factors that influence the efficacy of chemical sanitizers include the following:

Concentration. Too little will result in an inadequate reduction of microorganisms; too much can be toxic, corrosive to equipment and can lead to less cleanability over time.

Temperature. Sanitizers generally work best between 55 °F (13 °C) and 120 °F (49 °C).

Contact time. To kill microorganisms, cleaned items must be in contact with the sanitizer for the manufacturer-recommended time.

The presence and nature of the organic and/or inorganic in-activators on the surface. Some of these are present in detergent residue or soil from an improperly cleaned surface and might react with sanitizers. Thus, it is important to properly clean and rinse prior to sanitization.

The nature of the material surface. Sanitizers react differently with plastic, glass, metal and wood.

The surface area, topography and geometry of the surface. A rough surface will be more difficult to sanitize than will a smooth surface.

The nature and species of any residual microorganisms on the surface. Microbial load can affect sanitizer
activity.

Type of microorganisms present. Spores are more resistant than vegetative cells. Gram-positive bacteria are known to respond differently from Gram-negative bacteria when exposed to sanitizers. Sanitizers also vary in their effectiveness against yeasts, molds, fungi and viruses.

Also, testing devices must be used to measure the concentration of chemical sanitizing solutions because the use of chemical sanitizers requires minimum concentrations of the sanitizer during the final rinse step to ensure sanitization and too much sanitizer in the final rinse water could be toxic. To accurately test the strength of a sanitizing solution, one must first determine which chemical is being used—chlorine, iodine or quaternary ammonium. The appropriate test kit must then be used to measure concentration.

Chemical sanitizers are registered for use on food-contact surfaces through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Prior to approval and registration, the EPA reviews efficacy and safety data as well as product labeling information. At present, the effectiveness of chemical sanitizers used in retail/food-service establishments is determined using one of two methods: the AOAC Germicidal and Detergent Sanitizers Method against Escherichia coli ATCC 11229 for quaternary ammonium compounds, chlorinated trisodium phosphate and anionic detergent-acid formulations or  the AOAC Available Chlorine Germicidal Equivalent Concentration Test against Salmonella typhi ATCC 6539 for iodophors, mixed halides and chlorine-bearing chemicals. The FDA is involved in evaluating residues from sanitizer use that might enter the food supply. Thus, a sanitizing agent and its maximum usage level for direct use on food-contact surfaces must be approved by the FDA.

Public concern about the environmental impact of chemicals has lead to the development of other sanitization methods that have potential for use in retail/foodservice establishments.

Ozone. The ozone molecule (O3) is an antibacterial agent that is very effective at oxidizing and destroying organic and other compounds on equipment and surfaces. As of June 2001, ozone was approved by the FDA as an additive to kill foodborne pathogens. Because it is a gas, ozone leaves no toxic residues on treated surfaces. However, it could be corrosive to various surfaces at high concentrations, and care must be exercised during its generation because overexposure can result in bodily injury.

Peracetic acid (PAA). An organic acid, PAA is produced by the reaction of acetic acid with hydrogen peroxide. In the retail/foodservice industry, it is being promoted as a potential chlorine replacement that can be used at a concentration of 150 to 200 ppm on food-contact surfaces. At this concentration, it is capable of killing microorganisms in addition to removing deposits of milk stone and hard-water scales, suppressing odors and stripping biofilms from food-contact surfaces. PAA is not very effective against bacterial spores, and it may be more expensive when compared with other sanitizers.

Electrolyzed water. Electrolyzed water is a good sanitization method** because it has antimicrobial properties, is not corrosive to skin, mucous membranes or organic material, is safe to handle and has little adverse effect on the environment. Electrolyzed water shows effectiveness against a wide range of microorganisms. It can be produced easily using common salt and an apparatus connected to a power source. Because the size of the machine is quite small, electrolyzed water can be manufactured on site. Although its cost is low, electrolyzed water can be corrosive to certain metal surfaces***.

While heat and chemicals are currently the most commonly used sanitization methods, other new methods—such as ozone, PAA and electrolyzed water—show great promise for use in the retail/foodservice environment. The bottom line is “Don’t compromise—clean and sanitize.”

** No reference is made to the fact that when Neutral Electrolyzed Water is produced onsite, simultaniously Alkaline Water is produced. Alkaline Water has a pH of 11.5 to 12.5 and it’s active ingredient NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide) is a very powerfull cleaner and degreaser. Aquaox Systems produce approximately 20% NaOH and approximately 80% HOCL measured in volume.

*** Neutral Electrolyzed Water with it’s active ingredient HOCL (Hypochlorous Acid) has a pH of 6.2. to 6.8 and is therefore not corrosive. Neutral Electrolyzed Water is produced onsite by stand-alone fully automated remotely controlled Aquaox Systems. For more information on Aquaox Systems, visit http://www.aquaox.net/Systems.html