Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
Cleaning and disinfecting
is a matter of technique, coupled with the proper cleaning agents. To insure that cross contamination of harmful microbes does not occur, certain steps need to be followed to take cleanliness down to the microscopic level, where the underlying cause of the problem actually exists.
of popular cleaners often instruct the user to spray on, wait 30 seconds, and wipe. They also do little to stop cross contamination as the user moves from one container to the next. For containers, airplanes, and intermodal vehicles that go all over the world, the simple act of “cleaning” with a less powerful agent could actually be the cause of a disease jumping from one country to the next.
The current practices
of using alcohol-based Simple Green as a cleaner, or similar products, instead of the more powerful chlorine dioxide could be a legal problem due to the to the lack of disinfecting properties required by insurance and governing policies.
of viruses, bacteria, and fungi are among the oldest living things on earth. They require very little to grow--moisture, specific temperature, and a food or energy source are all it takes to get them going. For some microbes, their food source can be anything from which they derive energy. Some get it from minerals in the earth and can grow on bare rock, while others get energy from any organic material living or dead.
When colonies of bacteria grow
they not only spread out but they can pile up on each other like stacks of hay. Staphylococcus is a bacteria that is round and grows like bunches of grapes on a vine. This is the cause of serious skin infections that are so dangerous because they are becoming resistant to antibiotics. MRSA is a type of staph infection.
Fungi, like molds
and mildew, produce tiny root-like structures called hyphae, that grow into whatever they are getting energy from so antibiotics often kill the top layer, but sometimes not get down to the “root” of the problem.
Both bacteria and fungi
produce spores which are similar to seeds of more familiar plants. Spores protect themselves by producing an outer coating that covers the cell and helps them resist harsh conditions. Molds produce spores continually; they blow in the wind until they land on an area with proper conditions for growing new molds. Bacteria produce spores when one of their growing conditions changes. They can exist in this form for a very long time and resist some of the harshest of conditions, including boiling, freezing, and caustic chemicals. When spores are inhaled by people they can start growing in, or on the person’s body. Even if they don’t start growing, they can still cause an immune system response that, depending on a person’s sensitivity, can determine how severe a reaction they have.
Bacteria can reproduce
extremely fast, one cell becoming two every 20 minutes in ideal conditions. They can produce 50 generations per day which makes them hard to control. It has been estimated that if one bacterium had ideal growing conditions and maintained that for 24 hours along with all of the offspring, the weight of all those bacteria would equal the weight of a railroad locomotive! For this reason, bacterial infections are so dangerous they can easily overcome a person’s immune system.
Like any living thing that eats
bacteria and mold produce waste that is the leading cause of odors in unclean environments and it is known to be a poison in some cases.Some of the more familiar odors are the musty smell in places that have endured damp conditions, swampy odors of decaying vegetation and even bad breath.
Most commercial cleaners
instruct the user to spray on and allow it to sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute before wiping off. The wipe is important because they have chemicals that are just about as poisonous to us as they are to the microbes and need to be removed. Many use chlorine as the antibacterial agent which irritates the eyes and mucous lining of the airways in humans. Others use ammonia or alcohol-based solutions (which are also irritants) again with the spray on wipe-off technique.
The act of wiping
off may not allow enough time for the chemicals to get to bacteria and molds at the bottom of the “haystack” or middle of the “cluster”. The rag or sponge itself can pick up the bacteria, molds or spores, and become the agent that causes cross-contamination and spread the microbe infestation. Spraying and wiping of spores will do little to these resistant forms of the microbes.
Plus, many of these cleaners
with chlorine, alcohol, etc. can cause corrosion, discoloration, and failure of electronic devices if sprayed on and not removed. In some cases, just spraying them on will cause those problems.
tackle the odor problem by including a fragrance that masks the smell of microbes instead of addressing the root problem.
an alcohol-based product, makes no claim of any disinfecting ability but is widely used because it doesn’t have chlorine and is seen as being a more eco-friendly formula. Yet the “Pro” formula of Simple Green does use chlorine (which can be a biohazard and not as eco-friendly), yet is still marketed as such.
Many of the chlorine-based products
claim to disinfect to 99.9% efficiency, a number that is not good enough to be considered sterile. This again, is using the spray and wipe method and not taking into account the spore form of the microbes. Most surfaces have tiny scratches, cracks, nooks and crannies in which microbes and their spores will remain. Using these cleaning methods many of the microbes are missed completely and the 99.9% threshold is questionable at best.
So how do you get to those bacteria
and molds that hide in small places and also kill their spores? The answer is chlorine dioxide (ClO2) especially the ultra-pure form from Advanced Environmental Technologies (AET).
(ClO2) has a number of physical and chemical properties that make it the ideal product for addressing liquid, surface and/or airborne microbial contamination in a safe and effective manner.
has a long history of effective use as a biocide in a variety of liquid and surface treatment applications. The effectiveness of gaseous chlorine dioxide has also been well documented in numerous large scale fumigation applications. ClO2 remains a true gas when placed into water, thus retaining its distinct chemical structure and properties after being dissolved. Chlorine, in contrast, is an acid gas and forms hypochlorous acid and hydrochloric acid when placed in water. These two forms of chlorine are both more corrosive and less effective as biocides than the original gas.
ClO2 is highly soluble in water
and other organic materials. Because of this, chlorine dioxide penetrates through materials that protect microorganisms from other biocides. This makes it ideal for killing spores, the most difficult form of microbes. Chlorine in water has difficulty penetrating some organic barriers because of its ionic nature. CLO2 has a unique molecular structure enabling it to penetrate.
Since ClO2 is a true gas
at standard temperature and pressure (STP), it can be used to fumigate structures of any size with a single application. Many potential fumigants, such as hydrogen peroxide and formaldehyde, are vapors, meaning they are in a liquid state at STP and must be continually heated to keep them in an effective gaseous form, thus limiting their uses to small areas where high temperatures can be maintained easily.
In its gaseous state
ClO2 has been shown to be a highly penetrating biocide. Through the placement of spore strips, it has been proven that chlorine dioxide gas can readily penetrate through cloth, fabrics, paper, etc., and inactivate high concentrations of spores. Thus, facilities can be fumigated without first removing all porous materials. It has also been shown that ClO2 can penetrate beneath coffee cups, bottles, etc. that are sitting on hard surfaces and inactivate underlying organisms. Think of the costs saved by not having to remove porous materials before fumigating and disposal!
ClO2 has an attractive toxicological profile
relative to other compounds that could be used to fumigate contaminated structures. The potential adverse health effects associated with chlorine dioxide are largely acute in nature and generally related to its irritant properties. For example, chlorine dioxide exposure has been associated with irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing, wheezing; shortness of breath, etc. Other fumigants such as formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, and methyl bromide have all been associated with serious acute and chronic adverse health effects, including potential carcinogenicity..
Because it’s a free radical molecule
chlorine dioxide decays naturally on its own and doesn’t need to be removed from surfaces or air spaces following treatment, whether applied in liquid or gaseous form. Concentrations of 750ppm will normally “disappear” completely without any action being taken in a period of only a few hours. Plus it doesn’t leave any visible or harmful residues on surfaces following treatment. Testing demonstrates that it will quickly decay into harmless microscopic sodium salts that are completely non-irritating.
Bedbugs are a major concern
due to recent outbreaks and the fact that they are becoming resistant to pesticides. The US Environmental Protection Agency has classified them as “a pest of significant public health importance”. Bedbug eradication is multifaceted and may consist of environmental measures such as superheating, freezing, and also the use of strong chemicals. Since bedbugs are resistant to multiple commercially available pesticides, pest control companies have mixed stronger concentrations and mixed pesticides to try to control them resulting in 39 cases of pesticide poisoning in 2010.
in gaseous form is an effective decontaminant against bedbugs. It has the ability to reach small crevices and cracks where bedbugs reside. In a recent study it has been shown effective in killing bedbugs at a concentration of 362ppm for 89 minutes and the ClO2 was completely removed and left no residue for human rehabilitation after 30 min.
Not All Chlorine Dioxide is Alike
Since chlorine dioxide has been around for a while
why isn’t it more widely used? It turns out there is more than one way to make ClO2. If ClO2 isn’t pure, there can be by-products that break down into chlorinated acids at a very low pH which are extremely corrosive and poisonous. Plus, in the past, methods of making ClO2 included huge machines that produced large amounts that were cost-prohibitive.
Advanced Environmental Technologies
(AET) has perfected a ClO2 production method that makes more Cl02, that remains neutral, and less than 1ppm in by-product. Also, Advanced Environmental Technologies (AET) has developed a method to deliver ClO2 to any size container.
Safety Should Always Take Precedence
Depending how ClO2 is generated
and used dictates what precautions need to be taken. Like all biocides or fumigants, if they kill microbes, they can kill humans. ClO2 dissolved in water can be an irritant similar to bleach or ammonia. In its gas phase, over exposure to ClO2 can burn the lining of the airways. It will also penetrate into the blood stream reacting with iron compounds effectively doing the same thing as carbon monoxide.
Since ClO2 is a true gas
and the molecule is larger than water molecules it will come out of solution after 3% solubility has occurred, and continue to off-gas over time which could cause problems.
trying to market ClO2 don’t mention the safety hazards that can occur using the liquid, and especially the gas phase. One such company generates ClO2 by directing the user to put 2 gallons of water into a 5 gallon bucket and drop in their tablet. The concentration of ClO2 that they say it produces would definitely cause serious off-gassing problems. Plus, if the user adds less water than directed, the off-gassing would occur in an even greater rate increasing the probability of over-exposure. Nowhere do they indicate the potential harm this problem poses. This includes the fact that a heat source or spark could ignite the fumes. Neither do they list it as a pesticide. Mostly, they just indicate the irritation factor.
on its MSD sheet (Material Safety Data) under environmental precautions stated their solution should avoid being released into the environment because a run-off may pollute waterways. Then under the ecological information section it states this material is not expected to be harmful to aquatic life, an obvious contradiction.
Using a company which appears to not put safety as a top priority begs the question: what harms you first, the microbes you are trying to remove or the chemicals you use to do so?
Safety is a top priority at AET
For the liquid phase, they have developed a method for producing ClO2 in a specifically designed reactor bag. Inside the bag is a sachet with chemicals that produce high yields of chlorine dioxide when water is added. The sachet keeps any impurities from escaping and allows only ClO2 to be released, but contained inside the bag until needed. AET also offers a gas phase of ClO2 for decontamination/ deodorization where special equipment is used and training is required to ensure the highest level of safety is achieved.
To validate our application
protocols and product results we have an alliance with Environmental Safety Technologies, Inc. A Kentucky based company since 1993, it provides indoor air quality and microbiological laboratory services to our customers for bacterial and fungal analysis. Test kits will be available for pre and post applications validating our application processes.
For True Decontamination/Sterilization it’s the Gas
To get an area truly sterile
the gas properties of ClO2 seem to be the key. Pure ClO2 of AET, coupled with the new patent pending equipment for its gas phase application is a breakthrough in this chemical’s use. Yet the cost of this new technology is much less than in earlier methods.
Decontamination will work
if the agent reaches ALL surfaces for a prescribed amount of time, at the correct concentration. This means that it must have: 1.) Good and complete distribution; 2.) Thorough and total penetration; and 3.) Sufficient contact time at specified concentration. Any decontaminant requires a complete and thorough distribution of the sterilant to get an effective decontamination. In buildings specifically, the agent used must get below the work surfaces; it must get to the plenums, through the HEPA’s, and it must get to the clean side of the exhaust HEPA.
Pure ClO2 from AET
in the gas-phase application can do all that. With their new technology and equipment training it is now possible to decontaminate and deodorize small or large areas, a few items or an entire warehouse, at a fraction of the cost of earlier methods.
The Proof is in the Test
A biological indicator
(BI) is used to challenge the efficacy of a decontamination/sterilization cycle. BI’s consist of bacterial spores, which are considered among the hardest microorganisms to kill. Sterilization is generally referred to as a 6-log (99.9999%) reduction of an organism. BI’s consist of over 1 million bacterial spores. To challenge the sterilization cycle, BI’s are placed in hard to reach regions of the area being sterilized. After the sterilization cycle has been completed, the BI’s are cultured in microbiological media using the aseptic technique. After an incubation period of 48-72 hours, if the biological indicator did not produce growth within the media the sterilization cycle is deemed to be valid.
enjoy a 6-log reduction of spores proving ClO2 gas, with our specialized patent pending equipment can achieve true sterilization. This opens the door to a wide range of applications, and is a major improvement over the spray-and-wipe techniques for eliminating cross-contamination concerns.
What Makes it so Special?
During the application
and testing of ClO2 from AET, it was shown to be a disinfectant, tuberculocide, virucide, fungicide, algaecide, slimicide, deodorizer, all rolled into one. Ultra-pure chlorine dioxide from AET has many advantages over other disinfectants:
- Very low toxicity profile
- Extremely effective against all microbial threats
- Compatibility with the widest range of materials
- Highly effective at very low concentrations
- Safe – approved for use directly on food
- EPA registered
- FDA approval
- Organic registered - Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)
- Protocol for chain of custody application
- Gas-Phase equipment
- Testing - in independent certified third laboratories and real world applications
- Patent pending Technology
So, What is the “Nitty Gritty” of Microbe Removal?
The true value
advantage comes from cleaning, disinfecting, and cost. The proven, tested results of Ultra-Pure Chlorine Dioxide from Advanced Environmental Technologies provides the safest, most effective way to remove microbes and their associated odor and health risks.