With the public’s awareness of harmful germs growing daily, the I&I industry is providing the weapons to kill germs in schools, offices and hospitals.
As more antibacterial ingredients are added to household cleaning agents, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of harmful bacteria. While consumers have control overriding these bacteria from their homes, they are less certain about the cleanliness of their schools, hospitals and nursing homes.
But the manufacturers of products that keep these areas clean are addressing this issue. To have these public areas clean, healthy employees must first be free of germs themselves. Occupational skin diseases are the second leading cause of occupational illness and cost companies approximately $1 billion dollars a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the problem continuing to grow. Reported cases of occupational skin disease have increased more than 25% since the 1980s.
Don’t Leave Without Washing
With the public’s heightened awareness of the dangers of bacteria, industrial and institutional (I&I) manufacturers are concentrating on offering handwashes that kill these organisms. According to a company spokesman for industry leader Ecolab, a key trend that the company forecasts is the continued awareness and concern over preventing infections from spreading to the general public, which will result in increased interest in antimicrobial soaps.
To meet this market need, Ecolab has introduced Endure, a skin synergy handwash system that helps prevent infection among vulnerable patients. According to the company, hand washing is the single most important factor in breaking the chain of infection and preventing nosocomial infections. Healthcare workers perform many tasks and can use several skin care products during the day. According to Ecolab, the ingredient in one product can counteract the antimicrobial activity in another, causing the efficacy to drop dramatically.
Endure, according to the company spokesman, ensures that products work together under the real world conditions of the healthcare environment. Each Endure product has been designed with active ingredients that are compatible with one another. The five SKU-line includes Endure 100 SkinSynergy antibacterial skin cleanser, Endure 200 SkinSynergy healthcare personal hand wash, Endure 300 SkinSynergy waterless antimicrobial hand rinse, Endure 400 SkinSynergy surgical scrub and Endure 5000 SkinSynergy moisturizing lotion.
A new company also helping to fight diseases through handwashing is First Scientific, Inc. The Ogden, UT company develops and supplies antimicrobial and skin care protective solutions to the professional healthcare market.
First Scientific’s antimicrobial handwash can be used as a facility wide product appropriate for patient, public and staff handwashing and is available in multiple dispensing and packaging options. According to First Scientific, it is negotiating with several large, national companies that are interested in carrying the antimicrobial formula under their own private labels.
Results have demonstrated that First Scientific antimicrobial handwash substantially increases moisture content while competitive products reduced it. Moreover, persistence testing demonstrated that the First Scientific antimicrobial handwash inhibited the growth of pathogens on the skin for hours after use.
While qualifying its patent-pending, antimicrobial formula as a healthcare personnel handwash by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in tests conducted by an independent research firm, First Scientific’s antimicrobial handwash was proven to be highly efficacious and fast-acting against a broad spectrum of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.
Proper skin management in industrial settings is critical in reducing this cost, said Dave Mackay, director of market development, manufacturing, Gojo Industries. To help combat this, Gojo, a manufacture and marketer of skin care products, offers a breakthrough product that conditions, protects and restores the hands of workers exposed to harsh chemicals, industrial irritants, frequent handwashing and severe weather. Gojo Hand Medic antiseptic skin treatment is a professional formula developed through extensive field research that is used along with Gojo professional hand cleaners.
Proper skin management requires more than washing and sanitizing, stated Mr. Mackay. Gojo Hand Medic antiseptic skin treatment conditions, protects and restores the skin’s natural protective barrier. With gentle, yet powerful, antiseptics guarding against infection, Hand Medic is silicone and fragrance free and absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue, he said.
Mr. Mackay also said that the company recommends a skin management regimen that includes three basic elements: washing, sanitizing and moisturizing. With workworn hands becoming dry and cracked, the cracks, whether visible or not, can house bacteria and be difficult to clean. He said that prevention of dry and cracked skin is the key to occupational skin management. And a study by the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) recently found that 75% of patients with occupational contact dermatitis developed chronic skin disease. “Repeated testing has shown that proper use of Hand Medic on workworn hands improves the moisture level of skin within 14 days,” Mr. Mackay said.
Questioning Conventional Wisdom
But not everyone is convinced that germs are a bad thing to have. “The traditional I&I response to microbial contamination has been the use of an armada of sanitizers, bactericides, fungicides and algaecides. As if we are going to ever control them!” said Kim Kristoff, president of Phoenix, AZ-based Gemtek. “Worse, numerous studies demonstrate that the proliferation of these killing agents mutate and reinforce the microorganims defense responses. Microorganims are opportunistic feeders; simply spraying them with bactercides without first cleaning the surface serves no purpose at all.”
Mr. Kristoff states that the main objective is to clean the infected area. “We have long claimed that institutional cleaning must first achieve demonstrable release of food soils including handprints, beverages, blood waste, fecal matter and other organic contaminants and then one can apply killing agents afterward,” he said. “Otherwise, bacteria simply recolonize a surface in minutes.”
“The microorganisms that can kill us or threaten us with disease, were here before us and will be here after we’re gone.” added Mr. Kristoff. “Learning to clean is not about annihilating these pathogens and many synergistic organisms but finding a way to live with them.”
According to Mr. Kristoff, the notion that a waterless hand cleaner that does not remove food source soils can make cleaning claims by simply stating that 99.9% of bacteria is killed within 30 seconds is “misleading, dangerous and ignorant of the greater responsibility the manufacturer has.”
GemTek’s Safe Care products are billed as an environmentally safe product line. It includes an aqueous all purpose cleaner/degreaser, safety solvent, odor counteractant, allergen neutralizer and an entire automotive cleaning line.
All products in the line contain SC-1000, three plant-based surfactants that create a unique hydrocarbon release agent that can tolerate tremendous soil loads. According to Mr. Kristoff, all GemTek products are based on nonreactive chemistries, are non-toxic and are antioxidant by nature; therefore they will not promote free radical decay of elastomeric surfaces, paints, metals or fabrics, said Mr. Kristoff.
“SC-1000 is so powerful that crude oil will be completely solubilized and held in suspension by only a small amount of SC-1000 without causing an emulsion or damaging the cleaning surface,” according to Mr. Kristoff.
All products from the company are based on nonionic, high oleo alcohol surfactants derived from apple seeds, corn, oats, soy and canola beans. Applications range from tar and gum remover to duct cleaning, scientific cleaners, aircraft cleaners, metal parts cleaners, solvents and anti-allergen cleaning solutions.
Not all I&I products are designed solely to kill germs; there are some new, innovative products that merely keep indoor surfaces looking and smelling good. Manufacturers of I&I cleaning products say they understand that cleanliness is important to the public in common, heavy-use areas. “I call it the first impression theory,” said James Kennedy, president, Harley Chemicals. “People use their sense of sight and smell to gain their first impression of any place they go. Consumers are looking for places that look clean and smell nice.” Mr. Kennedy points to hallways in public buildings as a perfect example. “The first thing you see when you walk into a building is the hallway. When encountered they look clean; if they look clean, people assume the entire building is clean. That’s the perception that companies want.”
For example, Reckitt & Colman Professional’s new professional size Resolve Fabric Refresher can safely and permanently eliminate odors trapped in fabrics, said Steve Pofcher, product manager, general markets, Reckitt & Colman. “This new product eliminates odors on all types of fabrics without all the wetness of the leading retail fabric refreshers,” said Mr. Pofcher. “Resolve Fabric Refresher can be used on furniture, clothing, car interiors and carpets and has a pleasing fragrance.”
Resolve Fabric Refresher is said to safely and permanently eliminate tough odors such as smoke, pet, cooking and musty odors. Its pleasing, fruity fragrance scored high in consumer test for likeability, according to the company.
Next year, the company will launch Lysol All Purpose Cleaner, a deodorizing cleaner and broad-spectrum disinfectant that cuts grease and kills germs on non-porous surfaces. “It prevents odors and growth of damaging mold and mildew,” said Mr. Pofcher. “Lysol All Purpose Cleaner will be available in a ready-to-use trigger bottle in two fragrances, fresh scent and lemon. A one gallon bottle can be used full strength or diluted with water.”
The company also helps the consumer by having a staff of highly trained industry experts and a number of customer training programs. “Our products can be found everywhere from homes and hospitals to schools and hotels. Reckitt Professional offers cleaning products that provide peace of mind,” he said.
After last year’s successful launch of J-Spray, Johnson Wax Professional North America introduced two new products in June, Crew Grout Seal and StopSlip floor cleaner.
According to Keith J. Bradley, director of marketing, Johnson Wax Professional North America, the Crew Grout Seal covers cracks and stains on grout. “This innovative product rules out expensive retiling and gives bathrooms a fresh, new look,” said Mr. Bradley. “It is a great sealer that comes in coats of white and gray.” One of the main features of the grout is that it is easily applied with a squeegee and only adheres to the grout, not the tile, according to Mr. Bradley. “The grout cleans off easily and takes at most 24 hours to dry.”
The company has introduced StopSlip, a quality tile rejuvenator that completely whitens floors and helps prevent slip and fall accidents, according to Mr. Bradley. “If a company is serious about minimizing its risk, it should use StopSlip as part of its cleaning program,” he said. Johnson Wax Professional has also partnered with Shoe for Crews to form the Slip And Fall Elimination (SAFE) Alliance Program. The program will pay $3,500 toward workmen’s compensation if a slip occurs after a company uses the product.
Ecolab also introduced two new floor products this year. The Airkem GemStar system offers three high shine floor finishes that are formulated specifically for a company’s maintenance program needs, according to a company spokesman. There are three products offered under the Airkem GemStar name: Pulsar, Laser and Gemini. Pulsar is a super-high speed propane burnish floor finish designed to meet high frequency maintenance needs. With its exclusive polymer system, Pulsar provides long-lasting shine, even under heavy traffic conditions. The Laser line provides extreme durability with ultimate gloss under high-speed maintenance procedures. It is designed to meet the medium-frequency maintenance needs of facilities on a one to four times a week maintenance schedule. Gemini is a tough, durable floor finish developed for low to no maintenance areas with a terrific gloss that retains its shine for long periods of time, according to Ecolab. It is designed to meet the needs of time-strapped end users with limited maintenance staff, without sacrificing floor finish performance.
To apply these and other floor care products, Ecolab has introduced WorkStation QF, a mobile applicator that reportedly cuts floor care labor costs in half. It’s a fast and easy-to-use method of applying smooth, level coats of floor finish and sealant on resilient, wood or synthetic sports floors, added Ecolab.
Harley Chemicals, Camden, NJ, introduced three new products to help clean floors, walls and fixtures. Kleen 64 is a concentrated, multi-purpose germicidal disinfectant that cleans, disinfects and deodorizes in one step. A quaternary ammonium compound, Kleen 64 is the safest, most effective and economical type of disinfectant available for applications used in hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices, beauty salons and schools, Mr. Kennedy said.
Available in pine, lemon or floral fragrances, Kleen 64 is said to be ideal for cleaning floors, walls, metal surfaces, painted surfaces, exterior bowl surfaces, empty basins, showers, conductive flooring and bathroom fixtures. Kleen 64 kills a wide range of pathogens, such as HIV-1 (AIDS virus), influenza, salmonella, E. coli and staphylococcus. The product also controls mildew on pre-cleaned, non-porous surfaces.
Unlike other disinfectants, such as bleach and pine oil, which are extremely harsh and can be corrosive to human skin and other surfaces, Kleen 64 is safer to use because it attacks only the microorganism and not the surface being disinfected, stated Mr. Kennedy.
Mandarin Magic is a super-concentrated cleaner/degreaser/deodorizer that capitalizes on the environmentally friendly ingredient dlimonene. According to the company, Mandarin Magic provides superior cleaning performance because of the surfactants used in a unique formulation versus a straight dlimonene product. The product is marketed for machine shops, factories, printing plants and restrooms as well as garbage disposals, grease traps, septic tanks and any water-safe surfaces. Featuring a combination of a super-high concentration of natural orange peel solvents, along with environmentally safe detergents and emulsifying agents, Mandarin Magic should not be confused with traditional citrus-scented cleaners or less-concentrated citrus degreasers, said Mr. Kennedy. “Dlimonene is a natural product made from oranges, that works as an effective cleaner,” he said. “Mandarin Magic is a product that cleans well, smells nice and is environmentally friendly.”
Guardian 5 is a multipurpose disinfectant that targets HIV, TB, bacteria, fungi and mildew. It is both a nonacid cleaner and deodorizer that effectively disinfects surfaces, while leaving a fresh and clean scent, according to the company.
Sold as a ready-to-use spray, Guardian 5 is ideal for a variety of applications including hospitals, laboratories, nursing homes, restaurants and schools. “Guardian 5 offers five different combinations to help find the right product that can be used in various ways,” said Mr. Kennedy. “We sell the product mostly to school and contract services. Contractors tend to want an office product that can do both at the same time. Whereas schools want a TB killer, workplaces want one that kills HIV.”
Guardian 5 kills HIV-1 when applied to precleansed environment surfaces or objects previously soiled with body fluids in healthcare settings. When used on environmental, inanimate, non-porous surfaces, Mr. Kennedy said that Guardian 5 also exhibits effective virucidal activity against HIV-1. Guardian 5 protects surfaces against Mycrobacterium tuberculosis at 20°C and meets hospital requirements to destroy bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella choleraesuis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and escherichia coli 0157:H7.
When used on hard surfaces in bathrooms, shower stalls and locker rooms, Guardian 5 kills athlete’s foot fungus. Weekly applications of Guardian 5 will control mold and mildew on pre-cleaned, non-porous surfaces. Just spray it on and allow the product to penetrate and the surface to remain wet for 10 minutes. No scrubbing is necessary; simply wipe off with a clean cloth, mop or sponge. It cleans and disinfects surfaces without leaving grit or soap scum.
Chaseing a New Design
Sometimes a dispensing method is as important as the product itself. That is true of Chase Ltd.’s new eCan line of industrial-strength spray products that reduce physical stress and injury while making work more efficient, said Ron DeSimone, director-corporate marketing, Chase.
According to the Maywood, IL-based company, the rings circling each eCan container are based on novel steel technology. The rings make the can stronger and easier to hold. “Focus groups were very supportive of it,” said Mr. DeSimone. “We have patents pending on the ering design on the can and the bottom cup that has the cloths in it.”
The bottom cup of the eCan stores the TowelABOARD dispenser. This dispenser holds specially engineered, DuPont Sontara cloth wipes, which suit Chase’s industrial-quality spray formulations perfectly. According to the company, these towels produce less lint, streak less and absorb better, so wiping takes less effort. Although the towels are disposable, they can be cleaned and reused.
The eCan can also be ordered in any combination of six cans at a time. They come packaged in Chase Case carriers for easy transport and are shipped within 24 hours. Mr. DeSimone said that consumers can choose foaming glass cleaner, furniture polish, tub and tile cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, dust towel treatment, spot and stain treatment, disinfectant or air freshener.
In interviews with company representatives, happi heard a variety of trends that I&I company’s are keeping an eye on.
Mr. Bradley said that companies must be reminded that cost must remain a consideration. “Buyers are becoming more aware of a comprehensive sanitary programs. Programs must demonstrate that they lower cost,” said Mr. Bradley. “We can tell a customer that the product saves a nickel, but if the program that goes along with the product costs a dime, they are still down a nickel. Customers are keenly aware of maintenance program costs.”
Flexibility and satisfying the customer are areas that Ecolab is concentrating on, according to a company spokesman. “There is a higher focus on employee training and improving employee skill levels. Company’s have to be more flexible in chemical dispensing, offering different sizes to fit different needs.”
A key consideration with the I&I market is the consolidation on the distributor end, according to R&C’s Mr. Pofcher. “Many distributors are joining forces or joining larger national groups,” he said. “This trend will continue as smaller distributors find that they need the critical mass in purchasing and saving back room costs. Reckitt is well positioned for this consolidation since we are a national company with multiple distribution points.”
Even with consildation, Mr. Pofcher insisted that the I&I industry will continue to grow. “Consumers are growing more aware of their surroundings and looking for ways to maintain cleaner homes. When consumers are in public facilities as employees, customers or students, they want to be sure that these environments are clean and healthy too.”
According to Gemtek’s Mr. Kristoff, insurance and government-driven legislation is driving the industry to improve product safety while maintaining efficacy. “Moreover, the industry is seeing greater restrictions placed upon traditional solvents and surfactant systems, such as toluene, and even labeling restrictions on the use of sanitizers and antibacterial additives,” remarked Mr. Kristoff.
Gemtek has found a niche in the I&I market by billing itself as a company that uses only all-natural products. Faced with the prospect of having to source effective and competitive alternatives and a growing demand for green products, Mr. Kristoff said there will be an increasing dependency on organic chemistries, especially oleo surfactants. He insisted that these changes will provide consumer users increased cleaning power without the attendant surface and environmental damage caused by traditional cleaners.
“Unfortunately, the production of such oleo surfactants is based on food commodity seed crops which will likely keep prices higher, pound for pound, compared to traditional systems,” he said.
Mr. Kristoff insisted the health of workers are being ignored with the use of dangerous solvents, toxic cleaners or reactive chemistries. “Increasingly, we are alarmed to discover that I&I chemical users are virtually ignorant of the personal or environmental dangers they face, much less the long-term impact on the nation’s workforce,” he said.
For its part, Gemtek is sponsoring educational programs. “We believe that safety education begins early and we sponsor elementary and secondary school and elderly group seminars to teach the basics. Increasingly, we believe that individual corporate users and employers will be doing the same if only to mitigate the monstrous rate of claim settlements,” stated Mr. Kristoff.