Friday, December 28, 2018

Ultraviolet Light Disinfection within Doctor's Offices

Risk of Contamination at the Doctor’s

Germs and disease can be spread anywhere, but public places have a higher potential to become a transmission point due to their large transient population. One of the most high-risk public places are doctor’s offices, because of the high volume of sick visitors coming in contact with many items and surfaces. Guidelines for Disease Control and Prevention in the Physician’s Office reveal that tools such as stethoscopes have been shown to be frequently contaminated with antibiotic resistant organisms such as MRSA and VRE1. Stethoscopes are used on most, if not all, patients. Additional studies have determined ballpoint pens, patient charts, tablet computers, computer keyboards and computer mice can also be contaminated with infectious agents. These items are rarely cleaned and can easily transfer disease to patients and staff due to their frequent use and tendency to be shared. In pediatric offices, there is a major concern regarding the toys kept in the waiting area, as contamination of toys by fecal coliforms, rotavirus and other pathogens has been well documented in hospitals, physician’s offices, and day care centers2. Additionally, with sick patients prone to coughing, sneezing, and vomiting, the aerosolization of germs and disease are another area of concern for transmission between patients and to staff.  Not only can infections be spread through the air, but airborne transmission can cause infections to land on surfaces besides the common touchpoints and travel greater distances.

UV Applications within a Healthcare Facility 

Ultraviolet (UV) light provides chemical-free, liquid-free disinfection proven effective against viruses, bacteria, molds, and spores. UV light can be effective on surfaces that are harder to wipe down, such as remotes, knobs, keyboards, etc. When UV light is used, the exposure can be observed through a window to safely and easily determine if critical surfaces are being adequately exposed to light. This is contrary to spray and wipe methods which are extremely difficult to determine if an area has been missed.

In the waiting and exam rooms, the Torch-Aire allows for continuous disinfection of the room’s air.  The device is quiet, effective, and safe to operate continuously throughout the day, even with patients and staff in the room.  The Torch-Aire simply pulls the room air through a UV treatment tunnel which disinfects it and returns it back into the room. Room surfaces can be disinfected by a variety of UV disinfection towers, including the Torch and Torch+.  These UV systems are able to provide a 99% reduction of many harmful organisms within 5 minutes. For areas needing special attention, the Torch-Flex and Torch Double-Flex are capable of applying UV disinfection within tight spaces and focused areas. If a permanent UV system is desired, the Flashbar can be installed in the room to provide an even simpler UV system for routine disinfection.  Components, equipment, office accessories, and even toys, can be placed in a Flashbox, or for smaller items, a Flashbox-mini.  These devices allow items to be placed inside them and quickly be exposed to UV-C light for disinfection in as little as 1 minute.

Relying on cleaners coming in nightly is not enough to provide your patients the best protection from germs that they deserve. Ultraviolet light disinfection methods provide a low cost, simple approach to address areas often unable to be properly cleaned otherwise. In order to provide the best quality of care for patients and reduce the risk of spreading germs, a clean and healthy patient environment is essential. Your patients and staff will all benefit from knowing that they are being protected while in your office. 

1. Canada, Provincial Health Services Authority, BC Centre for Disease Control. (2004). Guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control in the Physician’s Office.

2. Paediatr Child Health. 2008 May; 13(5): 408–419.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Case Study: Decontamination of an ABSL-3 Facility and its Ductwork

A university’s ABSL-3 area was set to be renovated.  The laboratory had been used for research with tuberculosis (TB) and needed to be decontaminated before it could undergo extensive renovation. The associated ductwork also required decontamination prior to demolition of the existing exhaust system.  Removing contaminated ductwork is a complicated and difficult task, and it proved easier and more cost effective to decontaminate the ductwork along with the laboratory prior to removal of the existing ductwork. Current decontamination methods for rooms include manual spraying and wiping with chemical disinfectants or the application of formaldehyde gas, hydrogen peroxide vapor, or chlorine dioxide gas. When ductwork is also involved in the decontamination, the methods that are practical for implementation become more limited.

The manual spray/ wipe method was ruled out very quickly. Personnel must spray each and every surface with the decontaminating agent, ensure sufficient coverage with the sprayed liquid, allow the agent to remain on the surface for the specified contact time (typically 10-20 minutes), and then wipe the surface. This method seems extremely prone to human error, especially when considering the difficulty in accessing every interior surface in the ductwork. Formaldehyde gas was considered as a possible method as it is effective over a broad range of organisms, has relatively low cost, and can effectively reach applicable surfaces due to its gaseous properties. However, formaldehyde is listed as a potential carcinogen by the U.S. EPA and as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It also requires neutralization and manual wiping of the potentially harmful neutralization byproduct, consisting of paraformaldehyde and/or the neutralization product. Vapor Phase Hydrogen Peroxide (VPHP) was another method evaluated. VPHP is an effective sterilant under ideal conditions but has the potential for inconsistent distribution where temperature gradients exist or where small areas (like the inside of ductwork) trap the movement of vapors and create condensation. Additionally, VPHP has been known to break down upon contact with galvanized metal such as that used in this project’s ductwork. These potential drawbacks led project leadership to seek other options. 

Chlorine dioxide gas (CD) was evaluated. It is not carcinogenic and does not leave a residue.  It has a yellowish-green color, which allows its concentration to be precisely monitored and controlled by a UV-VIS spectrophotometer.  This permits effective process control of the decontamination cycle, because concentration parameters can be established and validated.  CD has broad biological efficacy and has been approved for use as a sterilant by the US EPA.  As a gas, CD is not susceptible to temperature gradients, and CD does not condense at typical ambient temperatures or upon contact with the metals found in ductwork. As such, ClorDiSys Solutions, Inc. was selected for the project using chlorine dioxide gas.

After evacuation of all occupants, animals and disposable supplies from the area, the HVAC system was modified to allow for containment and re-circulation of CD. The decontamination process consisted of a humidification phase where steam generators were placed in the areas to raise and hold 65%-75% Rh for over of 30 minutes. Once the areas were humidified, the steam generators were shut off, and the gassing cycle was initiated. The cycle progressed until the concentration reached the target concentration of 1 mg/liter (360 PPM). This was achieved in approximately 75 minutes. At this time, the gas source was turned off, and the concentration held in the areas for a minimum of two hours, achieving a minimum exposure of 720 PPM-hrs. After the two-hour contact time, aeration was initiated by temporarily reconnecting the room exhaust duct to the building exhaust riser. The aeration continued until the CD levels were below the detection level of the concentration monitoring system. When the levels within the project area were at or below 0.1 PPM, (approximately 20 minutes) the areas were entered.  

The results of the decontamination cycle were successful and yielded a total dosage greater than 1090 ppm-hour exposure of chlorine dioxide gas.  This level is more than adequate to provide a 6-log sporicidal reduction referenced in various published sources.  Demolition of the ductwork started the next day.

ClorDiSys Solutions’ gaseous CD is the safest and most effective way to decontaminate your BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories, passthroughs, chambers, biological safety cabinets, HEPA filters and any other lab spaces. To learn more about our process and its applications, click here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Top Reasons to Attend the 2019 Food Safety & Microbiology Conference

The 2019 Food Safety and Microbiology Conference is a 2.5 day event that delivers high-level problem solving sessions in order to elevate food safety programs and address emerging food safety issues. This is the third year ClorDiSys Solutions and Kornacki Microbiology Solutions is hosting the conference with the location changing each time. In 2019, we will be at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia from February 24th to the 27th. Here are five reasons why anyone responsible for designing and implementing food safety, HACCP, or preventive controls programs should attend:

You'll be able to meet, listen to, and learn from world class speakers with a variety of backgrounds. These industry, academic, and governmental food safety professionals will be available outside of their presentation times for introductions and additional questions. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Art Liang - Senior Advisor for Food Safety, CDC
  • Dina Scott - Total Quality Manager, Darden Restaurant Group
  • Duane Grassmann - Corporate Hygiene Manager, Nestle USA
  • Michele Sayles - Executive Director of Food Safety and Quality, Diamond Pet Food
  • Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez - Director of the Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia
  • Melissa Calicchia - Chief Science Officer, Food Microbiological Laboratories

The agenda will feature a mix of regulatory information, microbiological tips and tricks, and innovative solutions in order to provide a well-rounded balance for all attendees.  Upon leaving, you'll have clear takeaways which will help improve your company operate cleaner, safer, and more efficient than ever before.

Get ready for some Southern hospitality, because this year’s conference is taking place at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta. Nestled next to Hahn Woods, a peaceful 26-acre nature preserve, the hotel’s location is the ideal combination of a tranquil and convenient. When you aren’t attending our conference sessions, take advantage of the on-site amenities including in-room dining, two restaurants, fitness center, indoor pool, and outdoor fire pit. Explore nearby hiking and bike trails, historic attractions and monuments, or go shopping at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza.

This Annual Conference is a lot of learning packed into a short amount of time, but you’ll also have opportunities to relax and get to know your industry peers. Don’t miss our Welcome Reception at Wisteria Lanes! Wisteria Lanes is a private, retro-styled bowling alley located at the Emory Conference Center Hotel featuring six full-service bowling lanes, a video gaming station, large screen televisions, billiard tables and shuffleboard. Admission to reception is included in your registration fee.  Outside of Sunday’s Welcome Reception and our Monday Happy Hour, there will be other opportunities for networking and getting to know your fellow attendees.

Registration is $995 per person with discounted group and government rates available. Registration can be completed at or by completing this registration form. We hope to see you in February!