Research on standard-issue hospital pillows found that they could transmit infections like MRSA and C. diff.
Why? After two years of use, dust mites (living and dead) plus their feces, dead skin, and potentially harmful bacteria constitute over a third of a pillow's weight.
Hospital pillows, void of any outward signs of disrepair, can stay in circulation for well over two years -- especially if slapping on a pillow case covers up an worn-down appearance -- meaning a pillow could potentially spread pathogens between patients for much of its use life.
However, notes lead researcher Dr. Art Tucker, "People put a clean pillow case on and it looks and smells nice and fresh, but you are wrapping up something really nasty underneath."
However, the study showed that a special medical pillow -- created from a special bacteria-resistant membrane usually employed in heart stent filters -- tested negative for all microorganisms after two months.
Over ten thousand Canadians die each year from superbugs (like E. coli and MRSA) they picked up during hospital stays -- making superbugs the fourth-leading cause of death in the nation.
Even worse: according to Sharon Richer, vice president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, "Thirty to 50% of the deaths are preventable just by [proper] cleaning."
The union created a mock hospial room to demonstrate proper sanitation, which includes cleaning ceilings, walls, beds, and equipment -- and throwing out any exposed disposable supplies, like gauze, even if unused.
While hospital cleaning guidelines, overworked and understaffed janitorial departments lack the time and backing to satisfactorially complete their jobs. With up to a quarter million Canadians contracting superbugs each year, Richer's union is emphasizing the importance of increased funding for hospital housekeeping.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded nearly $3 million to better understand how the liver responds to environmental toxicants. Four academic institutions will develop methods and tools to enhance what society knows about environmental contaminants and the liver, the body’s waste treatment organ.
Among other things, these methods and tools will improve the agency’s Virtual Liver (v-Liver) chemical toxicity prediction model. The v-Liver model estimates the potential for chemicals to cause chronic diseases such as cancer using innovative computer science and other technologies. The v-Liver uses chemical data from rapid tests and published literature to develop a state-of-the-art computer model that can predict the potential toxicity of chemicals in a much more efficient and effective way than current laboratory-based animal models.
“The liver plays a front line role in removing chemicals after they enter the human body, which means the liver faces harmful effects if the chemical is toxic,” says Dr. Robert Kavlock, director of EPA’s National Center for Computational Toxicology, “Evaluating the risk of liver toxicity due to these chemicals is critical for protecting human health.”
There are thousands of chemicals in use and hundreds more introduced every year. Traditional chemical toxicity tests using animals are expensive and time consuming. Once complete, the v-Liver model will help EPA prioritize which chemicals need more extensive toxicity assessments and simulate the biological response of the liver to chemical exposure.
The institutions receiving EPA funding include the Hamner Institute in North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Indiana University at Bloomington, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. They will work closely with EPA scientists to research how chemicals interact with cells as they enter the liver. The results of this research will provide the v-Liver model new data and tools to better understand how chemicals disrupt cells in the liver, and how this leads to disease.EPA is meeting with these institutions June 22 at its Research Triangle Park campus in North Carolina to discuss this project.
EPA’s STAR program funds research grants in numerous environmental science and engineering disciplines through a competitive solicitation process and independent peer review. The STAR program engages the nation’s best scientists and engineers in targeted research that complements EPA’s own outstanding research program.
Contact Information: Carolyn Hubbard, email@example.com
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making it easier to find data about chemicals. EPA is releasing two databases — the Toxicity Forecaster database (ToxCastDB) and a database of chemical exposure studies (ExpoCastDB) — that scientists and the public can use to access chemical toxicity and exposure data." Read more at CleanLink.
The Genencor Household Sustainability Index released in May 2011 found that 80% of American and Canadian consumers would prefer environmentally-friendly and bio-based products if they could compete with traditional products in cost and effectiveness. Fifty-three percent of the 2,000 US individuals surveyed reported that they had recently purchased at least one green product.
The consumers identified green products as ones that:
• Are made from sustainable/renewable ingredients
• Require less energy to produce or use
• Contain few if any harmful ingredients
“[Consumer demand] mirrors what is [also] happening in the professional cleaning industry,” says Mike Sawchuk, vice president of Enviro-Solutions. “Distributors and end users are becoming more familiar with bio-based cleaning products; recognize them as green, especially if they are certified green; and if comparable in price and performance, appear quite willing to select them.”
Nearly half of health care professionals around the world fail to comply with the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Save Lives: Clean Your Hands campaign. Only half (51.4%) of the 76,803 handwashing opportunities that the study observed were in compliance with the recommendation. Below are a few of the more interesting break downs on compliance.
- Nurses, 64% compliance
- Physicians, 48% compliance
- Europe, 64% compliance
- Americans, 26% compliance
- Ambulatory, 72% compliance
- Medical, 60% compliance
- Intensive care, 59% compliance
- Obstetrics, 37% compliance
According to a survey, 90% of carpet technicians do not expect tips after completing a service. Out of the same group, only 7% reported that they usually receive tips while 29% said they never do. Technicians rarely earned more than $25 in tips per job.
This data suggests that tipping is not customary in the carpet cleaning industry, so consumers don't need to feel bad about not giving tips to techs. However, a tip is always a great way to show appreciation for superior service -- but when it isn't feasible, referring the company to your acquaintances is the way to go.