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, April 24, 2020

COVID Cleaning can Cause Catastrophes


In February of last year, I wrote a blog “Don’t Be Daft” that talked to the fact that you cannot dilute a concentrate formulation to get a contact time or claims list equivalent to a Ready-To-Use product.  The reason for this is because disinfectants are formulated in very specifically to meet the dilution rates, contact times or claims lists specified on their label. The long and the short of that blog was that formulating disinfectants should be left to the experts.

While many consumers may purchase and use various cleaning and disinfecting products at home, until COVID-19 hit, the need for widespread disinfection was not a topic of discussion. Most people had not contemplated social distancing, how far the droplets of our coughs, sneezes or even talking spread, and likely never thought of high touch surfaces they touched on a daily basis that had been touched by any number of people before them.

I’m thrilled that we are entering a new normal where these types of things will be at the forefront of our thoughts; however, we still need to exercise some common sense and understand that unless we are a chemist or chemical engineer, we should not be mixing chemicals together.

Case in point is a recently released study by the CDC that has correlated an increase in calls to the Poison Control Center to COVID-19 and the increased use in cleaning and disinfection chemicals.  According to the CDC, calls to U.S. Poison Control Centres have increased since COVID-19 landed in the US, with a sharp increase in March during the onslaught of lockdowns. Calls concerning exposures to chemicals and disinfectants increased by 20% from 2019 to 2020, with children five years old or younger making up most of the victims. Around two thirds of the calls were related to bleach, non-alcoholic disinfectants, and sanitizers.

The study provided two case studies. The following is taken directly and highlights the importance of why, if you do not have a degree in chemistry or chemical engineering, you should not try to concoct your own cleaning solution:

“An adult woman heard on the news to clean all recently purchased groceries before consuming them. She filled a sink with a mixture of 10% bleach solution, vinegar, and hot water, and soaked her produce. While cleaning her other groceries, she noted a noxious smell described as “chlorine” in her kitchen. She developed difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing, and called 911. She was transported to the emergency department (ED) via ambulance and was noted to have mild hypoxemia and end-expiratory wheezing.”

The second case highlights why we need to consider the safety profile of the products we bring home as well as how or where we store them:

“A preschool-aged child was found unresponsive at home and transported to the ED via ambulance. A 64-ounce bottle of ethanol-based hand sanitizer was found open on the kitchen table. According to her family, she became dizzy after ingesting an unknown amount, fell and hit her head. She vomited while being transported to the ED, where she was poorly responsive. Her blood alcohol level was elevated at 273 mg/dL (most state laws define a limit of 80 mg/dL for driving under the influence); neuroimaging did not indicate traumatic injuries.”

Although a causal association cannot be demonstrated, the timing of these reported exposures corresponded to increased media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of consumer shortages of cleaning and disinfection products, and the beginning of some local and state stay-at-home orders all correlate together nicely.

When it comes to using disinfectants, read the label, use the product as the manufacturer intended it to be used and do not mix things together.  The dilution rates and contact times are there for a reason.  Don’t be daft. 

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, April 17, 2020

Speak Moistly to Me


A week or so ago, the Prime Minister of Canada had a cringe-worthy moment during an address to the nation.  Anyone who has ever spoken in public, during a meeting, at a family dinner and even just one-on-one with a friend has likely experienced a speaking blunder.  If you’re lucky, you just experience an awkward moment and it is soon forgotten.  If your blunder is on a larger scale, like Trudeau, you may end up with  viral memes and various remixes on YouTube.  A word to the wise, do not tell a nation that wearing masks prevents you from “speaking moistly” – even if it is true!

It’s possible that when Prime Minister Trudeau was giving his speech, he had been privy to some new research that has now been published in New England Journal of Medicine.  The researchers of the study looked at method to visualize oral fluid droplets while speaking.  I’m sure we have all had that moment when we’re talking with someone and get grossed out when you visibly see spit leaving their mouth.  I know I have been in situations where I myself have done that on stage and know exactly what my inner voice is saying.

When it comes to respiratory infections like COVID-19, transmission of the virus via respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing are always at the top of our minds.  With reports that COVID-19 is spreading in the community via asymptomatic carriers, looking at aerosols and droplets generated during speech is certainly something we need to consider.  Obvious droplets generated from talking are one thing, but droplets or aerosols generated during normal speech that cannot be seen could be a source of transmission – especially if you are not socially distancing.  The truth is that talking does create droplets and of course if you are sick, these droplets have the potential to transmit disease both directly, when the droplet comes in contact with another person, or indirectly, when a person touches a surface that is contaminated from your moist talking.

The researchers looked at the size of droplet generated when talking with and without a face mask on.  They found that droplets ranging from 20µm – 500µm were created, and the louder you talked, the more droplets you generated: WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE STUDY FINDINGS.

The study did not go on to correlate the impact of talking with transmission, but previous studies have shown that the number of droplets generated during sneezing and coughing were similar in number, but smaller.  The smaller the size means the droplet has the chance to travel farther.

Social distancing is a key component of helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.  While there may be differing sides in terms of if the general public should or should not wear masks, it would appear that Prime Minster Trudeau was on to something when he introduced the concept of “speaking moistly”.

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Living in a Bubble


Last night my husband and I were talking about what COVID-19 life looked like this week and what we think next week may bring.  The discussion turned to economic recovery and why, if we adhere to social distancing, can we not go back to some semblance of normalcy.  It was a fair question that generated a bit of a heated discussion and then it dawned on me. How I look at things and how he (and most likely many of the public) are categorically different.  He sees his social distancing, his 6-foot spacing, as a protective bubble.  I, and likely most people with a stronger understanding of infection control, see a something very different.  We see the bubble and we see the pathogens (or potential pathogens) on the surfaces left behind after someone and their 6-foot bubble have passed by.

Think of it like a Venn-diagram where you have circles intersecting and points where they overlap.  Now put a circle around the entire Venn-diagram, because that is really what happens.  Everywhere you go, your germs go. 






















Social distancing helps minimize direct contact with respiratory droplets.  It does not prevent you from touching everything everyone else has touched, coughed or sneezed on.  That was the ah-ha moment. Unlike healthcare workers and companies or people who service the healthcare industry, most do not think of the germs left behind the person who previously occupied the space.  You’re touching everything the person before you touched.

This is why we are hearing so much about the importance of hand hygiene.  Many people are wearing gloves, thinking they are providing a protective barrier.  Those gloves are touching everything the person before you touched.  Are you taking them off before you grab your wallet, credit card or phone to pay for the goods you are buying?  Are you getting into your car and driving home with them on?  Are you opening the door and keeping them on while you put away groceries and touch however many surfaces?  If you are, then you have potentially transferred germs to every surface you touched.  Don’t be fooled by wearing gloves.  Practice hand hygiene.  Sanitize your hands after you have placed your groceries on the conveyor belt and before you grab your wallet or phone to pay.  Practice hand hygiene after you have put your groceries into the trunk and before you have gotten behind the wheel of your car. 

But it’s not just about the hands.  Within your home, your office or your car think about all the high touch surfaces.  Use a disinfectant to wipe these down at least daily.  The good thing about viruses like COVID-19 is that while they can survive for a period of time once we have sneezed, coughed or moistly talked them out, they cannot reproduce.  If we increase our frequency of disinfection along with washing our hands when we should, we can put a stop to COVID-19.

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, April 3, 2020

How to Tell if your Disinfectant Kills COVID-19


One of the questions on people’s minds is how to know if the disinfectant they are using is effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  The good news it that coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 are enveloped viruses, therefore are generally quite susceptible to disinfectants.  The downside is that confirming that the product has been approved can be a bit of a challenge.
In the US, when emerging viruses show up and are deemed a threat to public health, the Emerging Pathogen Rule is enacted.  Depending on the type virus that has emerged, there are different requirements a disinfectant must meet in order to be considered effective.  For SARS-CoV-2, the Emerging Pathogen Guidance went into effect as of January 29, 2020.  The following conditions were required:
  • The product must be a hospital or broad-spectrum disinfectant product registered with EPA.
  • For an emerging enveloped virus, the product must have acceptable efficacy data previously submitted to and reviewed by the Agency against one non-enveloped virus (e.g. Poliovirus).


Due to the severity and spread of the virus, at the beginning of March, the EPA indicated that EPA-registered hospital or broad-spectrum disinfectants that carry a claim against Human Coronavirus would also be effective, allowing additional products to be included on EPA List N – products expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2.

One would think finding the product you use would then be relatively easy.  Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case.  Many disinfectant manufacturers register products using a Project Name, meaning that the name of the product you are using is likely different from that on List N so when you search you will not find the product name.  Instead, search by the EPA number listed on your product – that should work at least 50-60% of the time.  If your product has 3 sets of numbers, then the product is a sub-registration.  This means, a company has been given access to sell a product under a different name.  In this case, you again only search for the first 2 set of numbers.  The following is an example of what EPA List N looks like:













And that, folks, is how you find out if your disinfectant is registered and approved for use in the US against COVID-19.

Bugging Off!

Nicole