Welcome to Professional and Technical Services (PTS) – experts in chemical disinfection for infection prevention. Our goal is to educate and provide you the latest resources related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces, medical devices and hands. As specialists in disinfectant chemistries, microbiology, environmental cleaning and disinfection, facility assessments and policy and procedure creation we are dedicated to helping any person or facility who uses chemical disinfectants.

Our expertise is utilized by Infection Preventionists, Public Health Experts, First Responders, Dentists, Physicians, Nurses, Veterinarians, Aestheticians, Environmental Services professionals and janitorial product distributors to develop more sustainable cleaning and disinfection practices in North America.

Our commitment to providing chemical disinfectant education is more than business, it is a passion.

Friday, January 15, 2021

One Health: Our Key to Prevent the Next Pandemic?

As a fellow enthusiast when it comes to all things germ-related, I’m excited to be joining Nicole on the Talk Clean to Me blog! I have always been fascinated by understanding how diseases spread, and what we can do to prevent infections in the world around us – whether it’s a global pandemic like COVID-19 or one of the many other pathogens hiding in plain sight. Throughout the year, Nicole and I will be taking turns posting about the topics that we love, whether it’s cutting through the noise of infection prevention myths and misinformation, or killing pathogens while keeping people and the planet safe.

If I asked you to think of a dangerous animal, the lowly mosquito might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But causing almost 700 million illnesses and a million deaths each year definitely earns mosquitos the top spot – malaria, dengue, West Nile virus and Zika all hitch a ride in mosquitos to spread from person to person. Mosquitos are far from the only animal that can cause disease in humans – many wild animals, farm animals and even our own pets may be harbouring viruses, bacteria or fungi that can make us sick. In fact, it has been estimated that more than 60% of known infectious diseases in humans can be spread from animals, and that 75% of emerging infectious diseases that we get originate in animals.

Almost one year ago, Nicole wrote a blog to celebrate One Health Awareness Month, a movement to recognize the connections between human, animal, and environmental health. The blog mentioned a new coronavirus that was causing an outbreak in China. As infectious disease geeks, we watched closely throughout the year as this new virus morphed into a global pandemic, bringing the whole world to a standstill. Early on, we learned that the virus most likely emerged from bats, possibly using another animal as an intermediary on its path to us. If there was any doubt about the importance of One Health before, COVID-19 has certainly put a spotlight on this issue like never before.

Although COVID has dominated the headlines for the past year, One Health is much broader than any one disease, focusing on all the ways that our health is connected with the animals and environment around us, and how experts in human, animal and environmental health can come together to work on solutions to big health challenges. This can mean everything from getting our pets vaccinated, which in turn can protect both them and us from diseases like rabies, protecting our food animals from infection, and being careful about how we interact with wildlife. As our footprint on nature becomes bigger and bigger and international travel so widespread, we create a perfect storm of conditions for a pathogen with pandemic potential to pop up.

So, has anything really changed when it comes to celebrating One Health this year? While the focus on big health problems is higher than ever, the same strategies that we know to be effective are still our best bet. This means focusing on basic infection prevention such as hand hygiene and maintaining a clean environment, practicing antimicrobial stewardship (with both people and animals), and minimizing our contact with wild animal populations. As we celebrate this year’s One Health Awareness Month, check out a quick whiteboard-style video we created in the past year to put this idea into action!

https://virox.wistia.com/medias/yo39g5qyri

Matt 

Friday, January 8, 2021

2021 - A New Year, Same Pandemic

If, like me, you were able to take some time off over the holidays, you are likely trying to slowly edge yourself back into the work routine and rid yourself of sugar cravings after eating so many sweets leading up to and during the holidays.  In Ontario, the excitement of sending our kids back to school was shattered with a transition to online learning in the hopes we can slow the spread of COVID-19.  I am curious to see how this will impact families doing dry January and giving up sugar and junk food…

In past years, I have created themes for each quarter or focused on specific markets.  Last year, most of our blogs focused on COVID-19.  As we enter our 10th year for Talk Clean To Me, I am sure finding a topic for the 2021 blogs should not be an issue.  We will continue to explore process improvements for cleaning and disinfection and continue to highlight that infection control practices are not just to deal with an outbreak or a pandemic, but something that we need to include as part of our everyday life.

One change for 2021, is the introduction of Matt Buccioni as a Talk Clean To Me blogger!  Matt has been working with me for the past two years and is the FIRST person since Lee Nesbitt retired his blogging hat who I would gladly share the blog with.  Matt graduated from my alma mater, University of Guelph, from the Biomedical Sciences program.  Drawing on his interests in science and infectious disease, he enjoys speaking, writing, and educating about new technologies to prevent the spread of infection.  He’s going to fit in just fine and bring a new perspective to Talk Clean To Me!

 



Wishing everyone a wonderful January, a lovely February, a peaceful March, a stress-free April, a fun-filled May, joy that lasts from June to November, and finally a happy December.  I hope we see a riddance of COVID-19, but hope this year doesn't fly by as fast as 2020!  I’m not getting any younger you know!

Bugging Off!

Nicole

 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Here's to a COVID-Free Christmas

 









I think we can all agree, 2020 is one for the books that will never be forgotten. Never, since the start of the Talk Clean To Me blog, have I had a year primarily focused to a single topic.  As I write this blog, Christmas is only 2 sleeps away and while saying goodbye to one year is generally hard, I am ready to kick out 2020 and hope that 2021 brings more cheer than fear!  Over 2020, Talk Clean To Me averaged over 3200 page views per month and for that I am grateful to you and your support and interest in reading and sharing the blogs each week.

As you can see from the top 10 Talk Clean to Me blogs for 2020, the topics are varied, even if the subject was primarily COVID-19!  In David Letterman style, let’s count down to the most widely read blogs: 

  1. Canine Case of COVID-19 – This blog explored early reports about possible COVID-19 infections in dogs.
  2. COVID-19 Surface Survival – Early on, the ability of the virus to survive on surfaces was unclear. Figuring this out was a key piece in determining how to respond to the pandemic. 
  3. Coronavirus Clean Up – One of the first major COVID headlines came as the Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined due to an outbreak. The cruise line needed to enlist a cleaning and disinfection service provider capable of using Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® disinfectants.
  4. How to Tell if Your Disinfectant Kills COVID-19 – This is always a huge concern whenever a new pathogen arises. This blog breaks down how to figure out whether your disinfectant has you covered for COVID-19.
  5. Disinfectant Fake News – How to separate fact from fiction when evaluating disinfectant marketing claims.
  6. COVID Cleaning can Cause Catastrophes – Calls to poison control related to exposure to cleaning and disinfectant products spiked during the pandemic, due to increased use.
  7. Cleaning COVID from Chow – A pandemic trend involved wearing gloves while grocery shopping, but this can provide a false sense of security. 
  8. Do Changes to the COVID-19 Protein Spikes Mean a Second Strain? – While the idea of a virus mutating may instill fear, we need to look beyond the headlines to understand what this really means.
  9. What is Your Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfection IQ? – While terms like “cleaning”, “sanitizing” and “disinfecting” get thrown around interchangeably, they each have a unique meaning.
  10. COVID, Like Water, Flows Freely Along its Path – Understanding the new virus has been a learning curve for all of us, but the main things we can do to protect ourselves have remained unchanged.

To quote from Dr. Seuss “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” 

To put into the context of infection prevention, what if saving lives, reducing HAIs and fighting pandemics is not all about the quest for the silver bullet, focusing on what a product kills or who is or who is not doing their job? What if 2020 brings us wisdom, strength and courage?  What if 2020 brings us the wisdom to realize that we cannot continue with the status quo?  What if 2020 gives us the strength to fight for what we know is right and courage to not back down in the face of adversity and put our patients, our residents and clients lives first?

Wishing everyone a Happy Holidays! 

Bugging Off for 2020!

Nicole

 

Friday, December 11, 2020

From Panic to Zen

With the holidays looming, this week marked my last webinar of the year.  2020 certainly has been an exciting year, not just because of the pandemic, but because of the outpouring of requests and need for education on cleaning and disinfection and basic infection prevention and control.

This week’s webinar was targeted to the professional beauty market, which was hit hard due with mandatory closures. During reopening, there was a pressing need to establish protocols to ensure clients would feel comfortable coming back for treatments. Dafne Berlanga from Universal Company and Joanna Roche from Green Spa Network joined me in to shed some light on how the pandemic shaped infection prevention processes, distribution of products and the importance of having a community to turn to during chaotic times.

As organizations, we all had a front row seat to how the pandemic has impacted the professional beauty space - the following are a few of the questions we discussed during the webinar.

  1. What is the biggest change you have seen in the industry since March?
  2. We have seen a lot of waste and excess because of the pandemic, how important is it to take a step back and re-evaluate our protocols?
  3. Do you feel that misinformation has been an issue during the pandemic? And if so, how did your organizations help to deliver accurate information to your audience?
  4. This isn’t the first pandemic and it certainly won’t be the last, how do you think that changes implemented have set us up for success in the future?

If you’re interested in learning what we talked about and how the audience reacted to the polls we sent here’s the link!

https://www.viroxprobeauty.com/webinars/from-panic-to-zen-professional-beautys-resilience-in-the-face-of-a-pandemic

Bugging Off!

Nicole 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Disinfectant Fake News


















Spreading of misinformation and disinformation has become a bigger issue in recent years, especially with the widespread use of social media platforms and the ability to develop communities of like-minded people around the world.  One topic that has been contentious for years is around animal testing.

When it comes to disinfectants, the regulatory body responsible for approving and allowing the sale of such products determine the requirements for testing to support registration. All disinfectants being registered undergo a detailed review of the chemistry, efficacy, and toxicology aspects of the formulation before approval for market. To comply, all companies registering a disinfectant must perform safety testing, meet labeling guidelines of regulatory agencies, and adhere to applicable regulations for all ingredients and ingredient formulations. The EPA clearly outlines the Data Requirements for Pesticide Registration on their website with further information in the EPA Pesticide Registration Manual.  

The fake news aspect of disinfectant marketing is the loophole that some companies use to speak to the fact that they have not conducted or commissioned animal testing on their disinfectant products. To do so, they obtain a license to use a product developed and registered by a separate company.  This is a common practice within the disinfectant space.  In fact, whenever you see an EPA number that has 3 sets of numbers (e.g, XXXX-XX-XXXX) that tells you that the product has been sub-registered.  The first 2 numbers indicate who owns and registered the formulation.  The 3rd number provides you the information for what company has sub-registered or licensed it.

Many companies expand their product portfolio with products developed and registered by companies who focus on developing and commercializing new disinfectant technologies that are designed to improve the lives of humans and animals while not impacting the environment.  By licensing or sub-registering a product that has already undergone the testing needed to register the product with the EPA, it allows companies to maintain a stance of not conducting testing and not commissioning testing as they did not work with the company who developed and completed the initial registration that included the animal testing needed to support the toxicity data.

As an industry, we are working toward a future where animal testing has no role in product development. We should be able to use existing data and alternatives, so animals are not involved in product safety testing and we are actively engaging regulators to join with us to identify and implement innovative solutions that eliminate the existing requirements to conduct animal testing, without compromising product safety.

Please do not fall prey to fake news that a disinfectant has not been tested. It has.

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, November 13, 2020

Spike Sports Salmonella


It’s said that cuddling with a beloved pet literally kills depression, relieves anxiety and strengthens the immune system. With COVID-19 numbers hitting all time highs in many countries and the impact on mental health from isolation, stress and anxiety being able to snuggle with your best friend has never been needed more. 

That is unless your beloved pet is a bearded dragon.  According to the CDC, at least 13 people across eight states (Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington) have been sickened by an outbreak of Salmonella muenster.  At least seven people have been hospitalized, and five of those infected are younger than 5 years old.

Salmonella is a bacterium that we generally associated with foodborne illness after eating or drinking contaminated water or food. However, reptiles like turtles and bearded dragons can carry Salmonella in their poop regardless of how clean and healthy they look. They can then easily spread the bacteria to their bodies, habitats, and anything we place in their terrariums to make them feel at home.  If you’re not careful when cleaning their habitat or playing with them, you can get sick from touching your mouth or face and ingesting the bacteria.

While I have never had a reptile as a pet, I have had fish, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, cows, pigs, and horses as pets.  I generally go for animals that are a bit softer or fluffier to touch.  The key regardless of what pet you have is diligent hand hygiene after petting, feeding or cleaning up after them.

If we have learned one thing this year, we know how to clean our hands and clean and disinfect our homes. While there are so many benefits to having pets and we have seen the number of households with at least one pet rise to 67%, don’t drop your guard when you or your family are cuddling Cujo.

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, November 6, 2020

Mutated Mink Coronavirus Threat to Humans


While the US election may be giving many of us a break from COVID-19 updates, the pandemic has not stopped marching along.  In fact, the US reported its single largest day of confirmed cases November 5th, with 120,000 people infected while the death toll continues to grow at 235,000.  To put some perspective as to the number of deaths, 3000 people died on 9/11.  A memorial has been built and we continue to observe the day by holding memorial services (including this year). The pandemic, in essence, is the equivalent of 78 9/11 attacks happening since March.

As many of us are hitting the point of exhaustion and sick of hearing about the pandemic, Denmark has announced they are culling 15 million mink after a mutated coronavirus has spread to humans. According to Denmark’s Health Minister, “The mutated virus was found in a dozen people who got infected by minks with half of the 783 human Covid-19 cases in northern Denmark related to mink."

Coronavirus infections in mink is not a new phenomenon.  Mink, like their relative the ferret, are known to be susceptible to coronaviruses, showing a wide range of symptoms, from no signs of illness to severe illness such as pneumonia.  In Europe, cases of coronavirus in farmed mink have been detected in the Netherlands and Spain since the pandemic began.  Often, mink become infected through catching the virus from humans, but in the case of the Netherlands and Denmark, the virus has been shown to pass from mink to humans.

Why are scientists concerned with this finding amid the pandemic? Well, any mutation to the coronavirus such as the ability to move between mink and humans could potentially be enough to stop human vaccines from working, which would significantly impact our ability to stop the impact of the coronavirus and our ability to get back to whatever our new normal will be.

While it may seem heartless, the ability to cull animals to stop the spread of disease is in many cases the only way to stave off larger issues.  The truth is mink are not the only animals that have been culled during the pandemic.  Hundreds of thousands of pigs were killed and disposed without processing them into food because of outbreaks in packaging plants when COVID-19 hit North America. 

Thank you to the leaders of Denmark for caring about the health of the rest of the world.

Bugging Off!

Nicole