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, February 26, 2016

#FF Sharing is Caring

While the intention of the Talk Clean To Me blog is to talk or rant (in what I hope is in an educational way) on topics related to cleaning and disinfection, there are times when I feel the need to go off the reservation so to speak.  

The concept of #FF (Follow Friday) is to share what is essentially a Twitter holiday with the aim of getting people to follow one another through personal recommendations along with a genuine reason for your recommendation.  If you’ve followed Talk Clean To Me you’ll know that I generally do a #FF every month or so when the feeling strikes or when I’ve found something worthy of sharing.  This week I have 2 recommendations – neither of which are related to cleaning and disinfection but to healthcare.

Perhaps it’s because I’m having a melancholy week thinking of a cousin who suddenly lost her loved one that this recommendation has hit particularly close to home.  A video titled “The Difference Between Care and Caring” produced and shared by the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation in Edmonton, Alberta Canada has gone viral.  As the video describes – “At a time of increased demands on our healthcare system and healthcare providers, ensuring that each and every patient and their family members are provided with compassionate care is a massive goal, but one that the staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital are pursuing every day.” It’s a beautiful tribute to love and the impact that healthcare providers can have on the lives of their patients and how connecting a few simple dots can lead to such a meaningful and touching moment.  Congratulations to everyone at the Royal Alex!

The second recommendation is at the opposite end of the scale with the Safety Matters Blog.  In an era where hospitals are under scrutiny for healthcare-associated infections or other adverse patient events, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts puts a different spin on continuous improvement and transparency.  Their commitment to safety includes telling their stories about mistakes they have made, what they have learned from them and the improvements they are making as a result.  Their hope is that by telling these stories others will learn from their mistakes.  What interests me is how they share the stories and what is being done to ensure similar mistakes are not made again. 

It would be interesting to see what a blog along the same vein, focusing on cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces, patient care equipment, medical devices or hand hygiene may look like?  Rather than pointing fingers and placing blame, would we uncover what we all know to be true?  Would we openly agree that cleaning and disinfection takes time and manpower and that cutting back on either leads to cutting corners which can lead to transmission of HAIs?  Would we end up with a blog that transparently talks about break downs in cleaning and disinfection and how through review and investigation, the way to correct this error is to add people and allow more time for cleaning and disinfection? I would love to read someday that the number of housekeeping or medical device reprocessing staff were increased rather than cut!

I hope you’ll take a few moments to check these out.  If you do, be sure to have Kleenex on hand for the video!

Bugging Off!


Friday, February 19, 2016

Nothing says love like boys, beards and bugs!

Nothing says love like a little extra hair!  At least that seems to be a trend I’ve noticed during the winter months.  Women spend less time shaving legs because they’re covered with pants, pantyhose or tights and men seem to sport more beards or goatees.   I often chuckle at this apparent lapse in hygiene as isn’t winter also the season of love with Valentine’s gifts, cards and reminders showing up virtually as soon as the Christmas decorations have been put away?

Why am I talking about beards?  Well, some of you may have read one of the numerous articles that were floating around the social channels a few weeks back.  According to these articles, experts claim facial hair is riddled with bacteria which may spread germs and trigger infections.   These articles referenced studies that found beards harbor more bacteria than clean-shaven faces and that even after washing; beards contain thousands of germs which could lead to skin infections and the spread of bugs. Definitely not the most romantic thoughts leading up to the most romantic day of the year!

While the thought of bugs in beards is gross and certainly a perfect topic to get swept up in a social media frenzy, we cannot forget that every story has two sides!   A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Hospital Infection supported the view that growing a beard is no health hazard. Researchers in this study compared bacterial colonization on the faces of 408 male healthcare workers with and without facial hair. They found there was very little difference between the two, but the results did show that some species of bacteria were more likely to be found in those without beards.

My thought is this.  Bugs or not, some guys look great in beards and others should keep to the clean shaven look and to my knowledge there is no proof that a dirty beard has been the cause of an outbreak!  If you are concerned about your health and wellness in this post Valentine’s Day week and are feeling a little under the weather and thinking that it could be due to bugs in your boy’s beard, we launched our “Love Sick” education campaign just in time for Valentine’s Day and hope you’ll check  it out!  While they may be too late for this year we even made our own Infection Prevention based Valentine’s Day cards!  Keep them in mind for next year and save yourself $5!

If you don’t think our cards are sappy enough I saw a great idea that I may start next year with my husband.  Go card shopping together.  Pick out a card, let your Valentine read it in the store and then put them back where you found them.   The sentiment is there, but you save money!

Bugging Off!


Friday, February 12, 2016

OMG I hate HPV!

I rarely use the Talk Clean To Me blog as a means to vent, but I just can’t keep quiet any longer on this topic.  Over the last several months there has been increasing chatter about the need to find a product that carries an HPV claim as a result of a published study  looking at the efficacy of some disinfectants against HPV.  I can certainly understand the interest in reading such a study; however, like any published work we need to understand the limitations of the study and how that can be applied to your infection prevention practice.

My intent is not to disparage the study.  However, as I have expertise in the requirements for registering disinfectants with the EPA, the FDA and Health Canada, I hope I can shed a bit of light on the topic so that you do not waste your time trying to find a disinfectant with an HPV claim.  The following are the questions I ask when reading a study and determining its relevance:

1) Question:       Were the disinfectants used representative of commonly used products for disinfection of environmental surfaces or medical devices? 

    Answer:           The study did not include many of the more commonly used disinfectant actives such as QUATs or the up and coming Improved Hydrogen Peroxide products.

2) Question:       Would the testing methodology used in the study allow for the product(s) to be registered by the appropriate regulatory body?

    Answer:           The efficacy method used in the study was not equivalent to what a disinfectant manufacturer would have to conduct and submit to EPA, FDA or Health Canada in order to make a claim of efficacy against HPV.

3) Question:       Are there any labs accredited by the EPA, the FDA or Health Canada that can conduct testing against HPV to allow for registration of a claim?

     Answer:          No.  An investigation of EPA, FDA and Health Canada accredited labs confirmed that there are currently no labs that can grow HPV in a lab setting to a sufficient enough titre that would allow for submission of such a claim.

Like HPV, there are a number of pathogens that cannot be cultured in a lab and therefore cannot be tested for efficacy. Generally, regulatory bodies recommend that when testing for efficacy against these kinds of pathogens, surrogate organisms with similar characteristics are used. For example, Human Norovirus, like HPV, cannot be cultured in a lab; however, regulatory bodies have instead identified Feline Calicivirus (FCV) as the surrogate that has similar qualities to Norovirus. Therefore, if products can prove effectiveness against FCV, a Norovirus efficacy claim can be made. This same concept cannot be used for HPV however; regulatory bodies have not yet identified an appropriate surrogate as there is no Health Canada, EPA or FDA approved test method for HPV. Therefore, disinfectant companies cannot make an HPV efficacy claim on their product labels.

Although this study appears to have compelling evidence, one must take into consideration the science behind disinfectant claims and what current guidelines allow. Although there are no approved test methods for HPV and there are no current disinfectants on the market that have claims for HPV, it is logical to assume that disinfectants with multiple claims against non-enveloped viruses could be effective against HPV.

Climbing down from my soapbox....thanks for reading!

Bugging Off!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Boot Camp Baby!

As introduced in the “Welcome 2016” blog, we are really excited to be launching monthly education campaigns to support the use of disinfectants in various markets.  Our first education campaign – Dental Boot Camp  we hope will ramp up your facility's Infection Prevention resources on disinfection of environmental surfaces and instrument reprocessing to help reduce the transmission of infectious agents in a dental setting.

In the dental office surfaces, especially those frequently touched by hands (e.g., light handles, unit switches, and drawer knobs) can serve as reservoirs for microbial contamination.  Transfer of pathogens from contaminated environmental surfaces to patients occurs primarily through Dental Healthcare Practitioner (DHCP) hand contact. However, when surfaces are touched, pathogens can be transferred to instruments, other environmental surfaces, or to the nose, mouth, or eyes of workers and patients.  Hand hygiene is the key mechanism to minimizing potential transmission in a dental office, however, barrier protection and the disinfection of environmental surfaces certainly helps to protect against transmission.

While we need to be concerned with environmental surfaces and instruments, there is one unobvious and unassuming device in the dental office that needs to have more careful consideration.  A study looking at the contamination of the difficult to clean bib chains found S. aureus, E. coli, and other virulent bacterial species normally found only in the oral cavity were present on one-third of the sampled chains!  Considering that DHCPs generally place the non-sanitized/disinfected bib clip on the patient before washing hands, donning gloves, or putting on protective eyewear and masks, the pathogens coming from the previous patients, dental aerosols, and from the care provider could easily be placed around the neck of the next unsuspecting client!  Who would have thought that a simple bib clip could be so hazardous?

The next time you’re at your dentist I hope you pay a little more attention to their cleaning, disinfection and hand hygiene practices.  You never know what may be lurking on their hands that end up in your mouth!

Bugging Off!