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.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Triclosan has been banned!

Back in July 2012 I wrote a blog Rub-a-Dub-Dub There’s a Rubber Duck in my Tub.”  It was a book review of Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health. The book describes in detail an experiment in which the author turned himself into a human guinea pig.  The results were remarkable.  In fact so compelling that like the "Triclosan Challenge" in the book, at home we changed the type of canned tuna we eat, we no longer use non-stick cooking pans, we do not use any products that contain Triclosan and I can say I have probably only had 2 bags of microwave popcorn since reading this book several years ago.

The reason that I bring this up is that the data on Triclosan and its potential concern for human health is not new.  Discussions on this have been going on for some time.  As I outlined back in April of 2013 in the Triclosan Chemistry Report Card, over the years the use of Triclosan has been increasing and can be found being infused in an increasing number of consumer products owing to its use as a preservative to ward off bacteria, fungus, mildew and odors in toys, mattresses, toilet fixtures, clothing (check the label for your PJs!), furniture fabric, and paints. A study conducted in 2006, found that exposing bullfrog tadpoles to levels of Triclosan commonly found in the environment can cause endocrine disruption.  More recently, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota determined that Triclosan is being found in increasing amounts in several Minnesota freshwater lakes. The findings are directly linked to increased Triclosan use over the past few decades.

The reason that I’m including the dates of some of my previous blogs is that the concerns associated over the use of Triclosan have been well documented for well more than a decade.  It’s unfortunate that with politics and with lobbying, some things are slow to change.  Thankfully in Sept of 2016 the FDA issued a final rule banning over-the-counter (OTC) consumer antiseptic wash products from containing certain active ingredients.  Triclosan was among those ingredients.  Finally science prevailed.  According to the FDA Press Release “Companies did not provide the necessary data to establish safety and effectiveness for the 19 active ingredients addressed in this final rulemaking. For these ingredients, either no additional data were submitted or the data and information that were submitted were not sufficient for the agency to find that these ingredients are Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective (GRAS/GRAE).” 

Even more exciting, Minnesota has become the first state to officially ban Triclosan.  The reason in part for being trail blazers in this ban is due to the fact that the University of Minnesota has for years been so involved in research into the human and environmental health impacts of Triclosan.
Admittedly, this ban is currently only present in consumer products.  The ban has not spread to professional products such as hand soaps or surgical scrubs, etc.  The question I have is, if the FDA has deemed Triclosan to be unsafe for us to use at home because of health risks, would these same health risks not occur if we’re using Triclosan laced products at work?  I for one, as I noted above since 2012, have “banned” the use of Triclosan in my house and check labels in facilities when I am using the soap provided.  With every possible effort I can give I avoid the use of this harmful chemical.  Isn’t this something you would also want to do to given the risks?

Bugging Off!


Friday, January 20, 2017

#FF New Year Education Resolutions

Do you set New Year’s resolutions?  I don’t.  I stopped years ago.  I was often disappointed with myself in breaking the resolution by the middle of January.  I suppose some could say that perhaps I was setting resolutions that were not realistic, and I will admit there is some truth to that.  I suppose with me being a sugarholic, setting a resolution that has me giving up sugar could be something that leads to disaster…   Now that we’ve hit mid-January I wonder how many of you have broken your resolution.

One resolution I never break is trying to capitalize on any opportunity I have for educational opportunities.  The Webber Training teleclasses are a great example as I can join in from wherever I am; and if I miss the teleclass the day of a recording, then the presentation is available for me to download and listen to at my convenience.  As noted in past blogs, the Teleclass Education by Webber Training is an international lecture series on topics related to infection prevention and control. The objective is to bring the best possible education to the widest possible audience with the fewest possible barriers when trying to access it.  Here's the list of teleclasses for the first quarter of 2017.

Date Title of Teleclass
January 19th The role of intersectional innovations in preventing infections Prof. Sanjay Saint, USA
January 26th Heater-Cooler unit associated Mycobacterium chimaera infections: An outbreak in slow motion Prof. Michael Edmond, USA
February 2nd Knowledge Gap about Ebola virus disease among health workers in hotspots in Sudan Musaab Mohamed Nour Abdelrahim Alfaki, Sudan
February 22nd Catheter-associated urinary tract infection prevention in the continuum of acute care Jan Gralton, Australia
February 23rd Using expert process to combat Clostridium difficile infections Isabelle Guerreiro and Camille Achonu, Canada
February 28th The role of dry surface contamination in healthcare infection transmission Prof. Jon Otter, UK
March 9th Evaluation of Infection Control Training Martin Kiernan, UK
March 16th How to become CIC certified without becoming certifiable Sue Cooper, Canada
March 28th Treatment of severe MRSA infections: Current practice and further development Dr. Philippe Eggimann, Switzerland
March 30th Screening for Staphylococcus aureus before surgery….Why bother Dr. Hilary Humphreys, Ireland

For more information on Webber Training, including a full list of the upcoming Infection Prevention and Control Teleclasses, please visit
www.webbertraining.com.  If you’re a Twitter follower you can also be part of the conversation during the sessions by following #WebberTraining.
I hope many of you will take the opportunity to listen to these teleclasses and share them with your colleagues! 

Bugging Off!


Friday, January 13, 2017

In like a Lion, out like a Lamb

I suspect many of you automatically thought “March” when you read the title of this week’s blog.  You may think I’m lamenting over winter and wishing that spring was right around the corner.  You’d be partly correct - there are approximately 129 days and 12 hours until we put our boat back in the water.  The truth is weather sayings are as colorful as our imagination. Many sayings are based on careful observations and do turn out to be true while others are merely rhymes or beliefs passed down from generation to generation. 

The real reason behind my reflection on this phrase is because we have similar rhymes or beliefs in the infection prevention world.  In Canada, the sounds of hacking, sneezing and sniffling have been filling the halls of healthcare facilities, workplaces and schools.  In fact, in the last 2 weeks of December, >3100 people tested positive for Influenza.  That’s a 10-fold increase over the same time last year, and is particularly frightening when you think that only a fraction of people who have the flu actually seek medical treatment and are tested for confirmation.  I’ve been tested for the flu once and frankly have absolutely NO intention of ever having another nasal swab in my life.  I would far prefer the sinus burn from too much wasabi on my sushi than the pain from a swab being stuck so far up my nose it comes dangerously close to impaling my brain.

The flu strain that seems to be circulating primarily is H3N2.  It’s a nasty strain that hits the elderly and other frail people particularly hard. While this year’s flu shot is a good match to the strains circulating, H3N2 has the ability to mutate quickly so while the flu shot may be helping now, it may not be as helpful much later in the flu season.  If H3N2 is not bad enough, RSV is also out and about with a vengeance.  The symptoms for RSV are very similar to the flu, however this virus’ prime target is children with breathing problems and premature babies.

If you’re looking for how to combat the cold and flu virus, go no further than our educational campaigns such as last month’s Ba-Hum Bug campaign or the numerous Talk Clean To Me blogs that have been written on how to keep colds, the flu and RSV at bay.  I’ll also throw in a link to a blog on Norovirus because….it is the “winter vomiting disease”!

While I have not come across any rhymes that support a belief that if a year closes out with high flu numbers, the peak will either wane in the New Year or continue to pile up like the winter snow,  I can say that as I write this blog, I have that irritating scratchy feeling in the back of my throat.  My ears are a bit achy.   My sinuses are filling up and I had a bit of a cough today.   Except for the cough I could not hide, I’ve kept my other symptoms to myself.  Why?  Well, if this is “just” a cold it means I was probably starting to be contagious yesterday and will continue to be contagious for the next 5 to 7 days.  If this is the flu (fingers crossed, no fever yet!) the period I’m contagious is the same as if this is a cold.  The good news is that I’ve been holed up in my office mostly to myself the last 2 days.  Tomorrow, however, is a different story! 

Bugging Off!


PS - I’ll let you know next week if I’m in the group who have the flu but did not seek medical attention!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Welcome to 2017!

As I mentioned in my final blog of 2016, “life really does go faster as we get older”.  Case in point was the fact that Christmas break flew by!  I was fortunate enough to have 9 days off, and so one would think you’d come back refreshed. However, with 4 family functions, 1 birthday party and a multi-day hockey tournament, I cannot say I had much time to sit and relax!

As I now sit watching the Canada vs USA World Junior Hockey Gold Medal game, I wonder what 2017 will hold?  As a Canadian, I know there will be many different celebrations as we move towards July 1st and the celebration of our 150th year.  Will 2017 follow in the footsteps of 2016 with so many celebrity deaths?  Perhaps 2017 will be the year of the “bad guy deaths”?  I hear that Charles Manson is quite ill…

If I were to make predictions for 2017, I would say the One Health Initiative will continue to grow as the focus of managing and preventing antibiotic resistant organisms in both the human and animal health markets expands.  I would also say that the environment’s role in transmitting infections and the need to effectively clean and disinfect environmental surfaces and shared medical equipment will continue to be a focus.  I can at least guarantee that I will continue to blog - 2017 marks the 6th year for Talk Clean To Me.  In 2017, I will try to cover as many topics and share as many educational resources as possible, and without a doubt I guarantee that I will continue to be quirky and cheeky!

While I’m not exactly sure what 2017 is going to bring in terms of topics, you can be sure that I’ll touch on all facets of human and animal health. Will a new zoonotic disease pop up?  Will 2017 be a bad year for Influenza (Human, Avian, Swine or Canine)? Will we find the silver bullet for ensuring surfaces are clean and do not contribute in the spread of disease?  Will we unlock the secret of how to get people to wash their hands?  Your guess is as good as mine, but I know I look forward to finding interesting and fun topics to blog about and hope you’ll continue reading!

To continue with my tradition of signing off my first blog of the year, I wish 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. While I know it’s highly unlikely to happen, I hope this year doesn't fly by as fast as 2016! 

Bugging Off!