Monday, April 12, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Production Facility Decontamination

 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ClorDiSys has been proudly helping essential businesses protect their workers and operations by providing contamination control solutions.  Recently, our Decontamination Services team assisted a contract manufacturer prepare their facility for the production and storage of COVID-19 vaccines.  This facility had previously been used in the production of a beta-lactam antibiotic, which offered the unfortunate possibility of cross-contamination of the beta-lactam used.  With anywhere from 10-20% of the general population having some allergic reaction to penicillin or other beta-lactams, the facility required a true complete decontamination in order to guarantee the safe manufacture and storage of the new vaccines.  In order to mitigate this risk, it was decided to treat the area using chlorine dioxide gas.  Having been shown effective against a variety of beta-lactams, chlorine dioxide gas presented a verified process of treating the entire environment.  In this case, the facility treated the environment after removing all prior equipment and before the installation of the new equipment.  The decontamination took place over the course of two days, and the facility was able to start installing equipment the next day.  We have always been proud of the work accomplished at ClorDiSys over the past twenty years and assisting in the safe production of vaccines to end the COVID-19 pandemic ranks pretty high up on our list of achievements.  Look for our blog post next week for more info regarding how we've assisted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monday, April 5, 2021

 

When a cannabis grow room is empty, that is the ideal time to implement a complete decontamination of the space. A complete removal of all microbial life including fungi, bacteria, spores, and viruses requires a sterilization-level process. A sterile environment from the start, as well as only sterile items being introduced into that environment, will help best assure lack of mold and other contaminants. A sterilization at the end of every harvest is also good insurance no pathogens will proliferate when the next crop starts.

Gaseous chlorine dioxide (CD) is an EPA registered sterilant that can be utilized prior to any plants enter the room to ensure any pre-existing mold spores or other microbial contaminants be remediated. For a complete kill of all potential organisms in the entire facility, chlorine dioxide gas is the optimal solution as it is a gas as room temperature, filling the entire space evenly and completely, decontaminating every surface, crack, or crevice with no residues or additional cleanup. CD gas is non-carcinogenic, non-flammable, and safer on materials than bleach, ozone, and hydrogen peroxide.

Ultraviolet light (UV-C) is an easy way to achieve high-level disinfection to any exposed surface in minutes. This chemical-free and residue-free disinfection method will help reduce mold spores, therefore minimizing future risk of exposure to the cannabis plant. This is best utilized in a completely clear space to ensure maximum exposure to the UV-C light. Ultraviolet light disinfection is a fast, simple to use method, capable of providing a 99% reduction of spores within minutes without any dangerous residues to be wiped down or neutralized afterwards.

Controlling mold and other microbial contaminants is essential to any operation as it is a strong threat to cannabis. Before plants enter the grow room, whether it is a new facility or at the end of harvest, measures should be taken to ensure no dangerous organisms are present that can result in wreaking havoc on the new crop. Read more about ultraviolet light disinfection and chlorine dioxide decontamination technologies providing efficient kill of molds and spores as well as other common bacteria and viruses.

 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Disinfecting Air with UV-C vs. Filtering Air with HEPA Filters

With the ongoing pandemic continuing to affect the world we live in, more people are trying to improve the indoor air quality of their homes and businesses. HEPA filters and ultraviolet light are two common methods of air purifying. While both of them have the same goal of improving indoor air quality, the technology behind them is quite different and the type of air pollutants they can remove differ. No air purifier is perfect and without flaws. Both HEPA filters and UV-C light air purifiers come with their own set of benefits and disadvantages.

A HEPA filter is a “high-efficiency particulate air” filter made up of strands of randomly aligned synthetic fibers or glass. HEPA filters have been used by hospitals and in research environments for a long time. They are designed to trap particles that can come from pollen, pet allergens, viruses, mold and bacteria. The standard for HEPA filters is based on the (MPPS) most penetrating particle size of 0.3 microns. In order for a filter to be designated as a HEPA filter, it must meet international standards (ISO) to remove 99.95% of particles. In the United States, the standard is removal of 99.97% of particles. One important thing to remember about HEPA filters is that particles like viruses and bacteria are only trapped by the filter. If you do not replace them, then the air cleaning effectiveness goes down, and unclean filters can become a hotspot for dangerous pathogens. For this reason, it is recommended that proper PPE be used when replacing the filters. 

Traditional sanitation procedures typically do not include Air Handling Units or their accompanying ductwork. Formaldehyde used to be the most prevalent decontamination method used to attain a 6-log sporicidal kill of HEPA housings. This method was effective, but the process typically took over 12 hours and held considerable safety concerns, as formaldehyde is a carcinogen known to leave residues. When decontaminating with chlorine dioxide gas, it is often times very easy to include the ductwork and air handling system (even HEPA housings) in the scope of the project. CD gas penetrates through HEPA filters as if they are not there, and being a dry gas, it is able to navigate the bends of the ductwork system without condensing and getting "stuck."

Ultraviolet light air purifiers remove harmful pathogens from the air by actually destroying viruses and bacteria, not just capturing them. When a micro-organism is exposed to UV-C, the nuclei of the cells are altered due to photolytic processes. This process prevents further replication and causes cell death. The AirGlow is an in-duct ultraviolet light disinfection system that can be installed in any HVAC system. The AirGlow reduces and/or eliminates the growth of bacteria, mold and spores. It can also prevent the spread of airborne transmitted diseases including the flu and SARS-CoV-2 virus. As air passes by the quartz glass bulbs of the AirGlow, the travelling air is disinfected, and harmful organisms that may have been present are killed. To improve energy efficiency, the AirGlow can be positioned parallel to the cooling coils. When used on cooling coils, the Airglow is used to reduce biofilms that can accumulate on the coils. Clean coils can deliver a 30% increase in cooling capacity which in turn reduces energy consumption and costs.

HEPA filters clean the air with the use of filters located inside the air purifier. As polluted air passes through the device, HEPA filters capture many of these harmful pollutants and keep them trapped inside. HEPA housings should be decontaminated prior to filter changeout. Alternatively, ultraviolet light air purifiers use certain UV wavelengths to literally destroy airborne pathogens. Both of these devices ultimately share a common goal – clean indoor air – but one does not necessarily substitute the other.