At the behest of concerned lawmakers and consumers, the FDA has started to review the safety of the antimicrobial chemical triclosan, which started as a surgical scrub but is now found everywhere from toothpastes to cutting boards. Triclosan is so ubiquitious that the CDC says that triclosan is present in the urine in 75% of Americans aged five and up. Studies have linked the chemical to hormonal irregularities and antibiotic resistance in animals. Furthermore, the FDA claims that tricoslan disinfects no better than plan soap and water. However, manufacturers dispute the claims about triclosan's safety and efficacy.
It's tempting to skip good ol' soap and water handwashing when instant hand sanitizers seem to do the same thing in half the time. One obvious distinction is that the sanitizer will not remove particles. For example, if you have dirt on your hands, running water will wash the dirt off -- a hand sanitizer will not.
However, even at the microbial level, using hand and soap seems superior for preventing the spread of pathogens.
The study found 53% of 45 facilities where there was a preference for hand sanitizers for routine hand-cleaning saw outbreaks of norovirus. Three facilities that turned primarily to sanitizers for routine cleaning and during outbreaks had multiple cases of confirmed norovirus outbreaks.
Of the 17 facilities found to have staff wash their hands with soap and water more often than using hand sanitizer for routine cleaning, 18% saw outbreaks of norovirus.
So when should one use hand sanitizers? The big benefit of hand sanitizers is that they're convenient to carry around and use. Apply a hand sanitizer in instances where it isn't possible or practical to wash your hands, such as when you don't have the time or when you don't have access to a sink. For critical uses (such as health care), though, you should rely to soap and warm water.
A satisfied customer recently sent an unsolicited email to Deep Reflection president, Julius "Jay" Howell, regarding our urine removal product, Urine Off. She mentioned Deep Reflection's willingness to go above and beyond as even more impressive than the product. Howell wrote, "It’s always nice to hear the kind words from a customer and friend."
I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your employee Julie. Our children are close friends, yet I have never actually met Julie - so for her to be willing to go so far beyond the realm of normal customer service speaks very well of her.
I have been out of Urine-Off for almost a month now and couldn't get [to your store] to pick any up. I have been using everything under the sun trying to keep things clean and the horrible odors away, but all those other cleaners simply do not work anything close to as well as Urine-Off.
For the past couple of days, as I would walk up to my mother-in-law's bedroom, before I could even get to her door, I could smell a faint odor of urine. In the almost three years that I have been caring for Shirley, this is the first time that I have actually smelled that odor in this house. I don't think that I had fully appreciated the Urine-Off product until now because until this past month, I have been using it daily and it has done an awesome job of keeping those odors away. I will never take it for granted again.
If I can't get there to pick it up, I will have you ship it to me. But, yesterday, when I called to check on having it shipped, Julie very graciously and without me even hinting that she might do so...offered to bring it to me. I wholeheartedly appreciate her!
She brought it last night and I have been using it this morning...the wonderful thing about Urine-Off is that a little goes a very long way. I first sprayed it all through Shirley's bedroom, treating her pot, bed and carpeting about an hour ago, and honestly, the odor in Shirley's bedroom is already almost completely gone...one more full treatment of her pot, bed and carpeting and the odor, I have no doubt will be completely gone. Thank goodness for Urine-Off and most definitely, thank goodness for Julie!
~ Teresa Yates
Repeat customers can make or break a business; in addition to providing revenue, their word-of-mouth will proves unparalleled at brining in (or driving away) new business. With that in mind, business might want to re-check their restroom sanitation protocols. A survey of 1,000 US adults revealed that 94% of individuals claimed they would not return to an establishment with unclean restrooms.
In December, Harris Poll found similar results when 75% of surveyed US adults reported that they would not return to a restaurant that had unclean restroom facilities. Why? 86% of respondents said that they equated poor restroom cleanliness with poor kitchen cleanliness.
When astronauts on the International Space Station starting smelling something quite unpleasant, they discovered that air bubbles had clogged the sensitive plumbing of the $90 million toilet.
"One day you're outside spacewalking, doing the most outrageous things the humans have ever done," observes astronaut Mike Fossum. "The next day you're fixing toilets and unpacking boxes."
After following her toddler into a fast food playground and discovering how filthy it was, mom and developmental psychologist Erin Carr-Jordan set out on a mission to research the cleanliness of children's playplaces in restaurants. The results haven't been resassuring: unsettling amounts of broken equipment, food, hair, and garbage could be found in most playlands.
Carr-Jordan hasn't just been videotaping the conditions, though: she's been taking bacteria swabs at each of the 50+ locations she has visited. She then sends the swabs to a lab for analysis. Staph is among the other dangerous bacteria to have turned up.
What's more, according to Joan Rose of Michigan State's Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment, "Kids often are exposed more (they put their hands in the mouth more often) and are also more vulnerable to more severe illness." And unlike outdoor playgrounds -- which keep bacteria in check through sunlight, extreme temperatures, rain and fresh air -- the warm, moist, food-rich environments of indoor playlands encourage bacteria growth.
Currently, there are no laws on the books requiring restaraunt's playlands to meet any level of cleanliness; policy falls to the company level. Unfortunately, most of the major chains either don't have playland cleaning protocols or refuse to share them. Several have inadequate cleaning practices. Through her research, though, Carr-Jordan hopes to add some transparency.
Meanwhile, parents should be on the lookout if they let their children enter playlands.
Lawmakers herald it as a way to let children from low-income families to earn money, but janitorial and cafeteria staff fear it's a first step in sweeping their jobs out from under them.
Idaha just passed a law that allows public schools to hire students aged below the typical minimum 14 for cleaning and serving tasks. The students can only work ten hours a week and must have parental consent.
This gives kids a great chance to develop discipline and earn money -- but hopefully the Idaho schools will still retain a well-trained professional cleaning staff to ensure the cleanliness of critical areas, those in food prep.
"The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed that companies be required to report new uses of 14 chemicals known as glymes, currently used in a wide variety of applications including ink, paints, adhesives, batteries and vehicle braking systems. The agency says that additional uses of glymes could lead to harmful reproductive and developmental health effects."
It's commendable for companies to have internal programs designed to reduce their environmental footprints - this helps them work to continuously improve - but they should never imply that their own standards amount to certification by a neutral third party.
SC Johnson recently faced class-action lawsuits about its use of the company's patented "Greenlist" label Windex and Shout. The plaintiffs argued that the Greenlist label scheme misled consumers into believing the famous glass cleaner had undergone for independent testing for environmental soundness -- when in fact, Greenlist is run by SC Johnson itself. This month, SC Johnson chose to settle out of court and agreed to stop using the Greenlist label on Windex, but it's still unclear if Shout will be affected.
Under SC Johnson's Greenlist program, ingredients are ranked on 0-3 scale, with the "safest" ingredients rated "0". Although the Greenlist process itself has received approval from organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, there is no oversight on how SC Johnson applies the program on a per-product basis. Likewise, SC Johnson's criteria are propietary, so it's difficult for consumers to see what specific ingredients are rated.
SC Johnson isn't the first company to tag products as "green" without independent verification. As consumers turn to greener products for their proven health benefits, many firms have started calling their products earth-friendly, even without supporting evidence. This trend has fallen under the scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission, which as of last October, is in the process of proposing and passing new regulations. Currently, claims such as "natural", "green", and "earth-friendly" are not regulated.
At Deep Reflection, we never label products as "green" unless they have been certified by trust third parties such as EPA's Design for the Environment, Green Seal, or EcoLogo. Read more about reputable ecolabeling programs and how they work.
"The 82nd All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday in Phoenix, will have a major impact on the environment. Major League Baseball (MLB) has partnered again with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to help ensure that the approaching 2011 All-Star Week incorporates environmentally intelligent features. It marks the fourth year in a row that the two entities have worked together to implement measures, both inside the stadium and with supporting events."
Some of the green initiatives include:
- Composting program to turn tons of food and paper into fertilizer
- Pepsi "All-Star Green Teams" will collect recyclables from fans
- 100 new recycling bins placed around the stadium
- Waterless urinals and water-saving faucets
- Free METRO rail passes for volunteers to reduce gas usage
- Partnership with City of Phoenix to encourage green in the community