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Lower Costs of Disinfection

Lower Costs of Disinfection

Podcast with Dr. Benjamin Tanner, co-owner, President and CEO of Antimicrobial Test Laboratories. Benjamin Tanner

Transcript of the podcast.

Health Intentional Cleaning

Hello. This is Health Intentional Cleaning. Today, we’re going to be talking about how does Advanced Vapor Technologies’ TANCS Steam Vapor lower the total cost of disinfecting. Our guest today is Dr. Benjamin Tanner, Founder and President of Antimicrobial Test Laboratories in Round Rock, Texas, and a specialist in testing to identify and validate disinfection best practices. Dr. Tanner, welcome and please help us out with the following questions. First question, what is the most common myth about disinfection that you would most like to correct?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

I think the most common myth I hear about disinfection is that all cleaners disinfect, and that’s not the case. We see a lot lately with green cleaners. In fact, most green cleaners do not disinfect. It’s very important for the people who want to use chemicals or devices in their homes or their businesses to disinfect surfaces, to verify that they actually work to kill germs. For chemicals, you can look for something that’s an EPA registered disinfectant. Then for devices, you want to look for a manufacturer that has ample data showing that their product actually killed microorganisms.

Health Intentional Cleaning

Yes, thank you. The data is important, is it not?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

The data is crucially important, especially with regard to devices. Because EPA does not pre-approve data for devices, so it’s incumbent on the consumer – the purchaser of the device – to verify that it works and the data is where you do that.

Health Intentional Cleaning

Absolutely, thank you. And our second question is – can you describe the factors comprising what we’ll call the total cost of disinfecting?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

Sure. When I think about the total cost of disinfecting, three things come to mind – the first is labor cost, how much time it takes to disinfect. The second is supply cost, how much does the chemical or the device cost. And then I think of a third layer of the cost of disinfection, which is the risks that can be posed by the chemicals disinfection. So covering labor, that one’s pretty straight forward at how long does it take to treat a surface in accordance with the manufacture’s instructions. Chemical cost can vary widely. The more inexpensive chemical disinfectant by quarter [ammonium?], are great because they’re inexpensive. Unfortunately, they have some gaps in their efficacy spectrum and sometimes tale a long time to disinfect. So the chemical cost– you kind of get what you pay for, sometimes, with the chemical cost. The potential larger cost comes from the risk of disinfection. And I think a scenario where consumers can actually save by using steam vapor disinfection. What I am referring to is, it’s pretty well-known that chemicals – oxidative chemicals like bleach and smother disinfectants – can kick off allergy attacks and asthma in people who are susceptible to those chemicals. Taking a chemical free approach, enables people to avoid some of those potentially more costly outcomes among their cleaning staff. So I see labor, chemical supply costs, and then some of the chemical risks associated with traditional disinfectant, as the overall cost of disinfecting.

Health Intentional Cleaning

Yes. That’s excellent. Thank you. Can you elaborate just a little more on the labor. Isn’t there a dwell time factor that is often problematic in these situations?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

Yeah, that’s a great point of discussion. Unfortunately, chemical disinfectants are typically used in a way that makes them faster to use, by cutting down on the label recommended contact time or dwell time. To get the full benefit out of a disinfectant, they really need to be used for the whole contact time. If that’s done, that really does stretch out the amount of time or labor it takes to disinfect a surface.

Health Intentional Cleaning

How common is it to not have the proper dwell times, or incorporate that proper labor factor for efficacy?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

Just in my personal experience, it really varies from person to person, or organization to organization. My best guess is that only a small fraction – say, 25% of hospitals – actually consistently comply with the contact time released on chemical disinfectants.

Health Intentional Cleaning

That’s interesting because then the cost of disinfecting – or in this case, not properly disinfecting – may run into many more issues related to healthcare acquired infections, hospital acquired infections and factors like those, is that correct?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

Yeah, yeah. We talked about the cost of disinfecting. I think there can be a great cost of not disinfecting properly. Many, specifically, infections that are acquired from contaminated surfaces. Some of the more recent data I’ve got, has figures up to $45,000 per infections that required [inaudible]. They can be very costly.

Health Intentional Cleaning

Incredible. Great. And our third question is – has testing of the Advanced Vapor Technologies’ TANCS Steam Vapor- disinfecting Devices, produced results that may help lower the total cost of disinfecting?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

Yeah. The two main benefits that come to my mind when I think about the TANCS system, are the very low contact times we’ve observed at my lab for disinfection of surfaces with that device, which can cut back on labor times. And then certainly, there’s your chemical [?] that’s used in that process is water – which is very, very inexpensive [chuckles]. So the chemical cost basically goes down to zero. In my experience, I found it to be a very reliable disinfecting system. Nice prospect for efficacy. So I think then you can avoid some of the costs that’s not disinfecting as well.

Health Intentional Cleaning

Thanks so much for that. And in terms of the dwell time that we’re referring to with chemical disinfectants, what is the dwell time for advocacy for the TANCS Steam Vapor, compared to the chemical disinfectants?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

Sure. The typical chemical disinfectant will have a contact time of five to ten minutes. There are a few on the market with contact times as low as two or three minutes. Those tend to be fairly expensive. The contact times, re-observed for the triangle brush with the TANCS Steam Vapor system, were on the order of seconds. They were so low, in fact, they’re actually very difficult to measure in the laboratory. But for your average microorganism they were up between one and three seconds.

Health Intentional Cleaning

Remarkable. So if used properly, then this technology could indeed lower the total cost of disinfecting by eliminating the dwell time concern that we often have with the other types of disinfectants?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

I think it could, yeah. And I think it’s broad spectrum of efficacy, reduces the risk of infections breaking though as well, which can also decrease the cost associated with infection.

Health Intentional Cleaning
And how about cross-contamination issues? Is it less of an issue with something that is hot – as in dry steam vapor – as it affects the treated material that is part of the applicator, as well as the surface?

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

Yeah, that’s the unique advantage of the steam vapor system approach. Is that the cleaning instrument, by virtue of remaining hot, stays disinfected all the time. Studies have shown recently that overused disinfectant towelettes can spread microorganisms like MRSA – Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus – to adjacent surfaces. I think the TANCS Steam Vapor approach will dramatically reduce the incidence of cross-contamination.

Health Intentional Cleaning

That’s wonderful information, Dr. Tanner. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us, and thanks for listening. For information about Dr. Tanner’s work, visit www.antimicrobialtestlaboratories.com. For information about health intentional cleaning, visit www.healthintentionalcleaning.org. For information about TANCS Steam Vapor, visit www.advap.com/tancs. Thanks again, Dr. Tanner. We really appreciate your expertise.

Dr. Benjamin Tanner

Thanks for having me.

 

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