Here’s why hospitals need to re-evaluate their cleaning products
Hospitals face many challenges, the most important of which is maintaining a safe and hygienic environment for the patients who have entrusted their health to them.
The administrators are aware of this and no doubt take it seriously. Most facilities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on cleaning products and services to create the most germ-resistant environments possible. Despite this, approximately four million patients in the EU and 1.7 million in the US still contract hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) each year.
Meanwhile, the toxic chemicals used to disinfect hospitals lead to other problems. Small amounts of chemical compounds from cleaning products can end up in rivers, lakes and oceans even after passing through water treatment plants. About 10 million tonnes (over 21 billion pounds) of toxic chemicals are released into our environment by industries every year.
This is to say nothing of the threats to worker safety during repeated exposure to such concentrated cleaning products.
Taken together, this means that a typical hospital, already facing countless challenges, attempts to clean and disinfect its patient wards using solutions that do not effectively treat HAIs and, even worse, present additional risks to the vulnerable population it seeks to serve.
Fortunately, the green market for solving these problems with environmentally friendly and more efficient solutions is growing rapidly.
Let’s see why it’s crucial to explore sustainable alternatives and how green solutions can help ensure cleaner hospitals and healthier environments.
Stronger chemicals ≠ cleaner hospitals
They say what doesn’t kill makes you stronger. With people, this is seen as promising progress, but unfortunately the statement also applies to bacteria and viruses. When you attempt to kill a pathogen with the wrong chemical disinfectant, the pathogen mutates in order to develop resistance against said disinfectant. It’s the equivalent of bringing a knife to a shootout.
The pathogenic mutation resulted in the creation of superbugs, which are considered one of the most significant and least understood threats to humanity in the coming decades, according to the World Health Organization. Traditional cleaning products don’t do the job when it comes to winning the fight against these superbugs. Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people die each year from hospital-acquired infections.
As noted above, toxic chemicals also pose a serious health threat to hospital cleaning staff. A study points out that the lung function of people who spend their careers in cleaning roles suffers the same impact as someone who smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 10 to 20 years. Housekeeping workers in hospitals also suffer from eye, throat or nose irritation, dizziness, allergic reactions and skin problems.
There’s a better way, and it’s green
The good news is that as consumers become more aware of green cleaning products, the industry is booming – it’s expected to reach $11.6 billion by 2029. That means there’s more eco-warrior and tech-savvy startups creating better products for hospitals and other industries. .
For example, at Viking Pure, we found an answer in nature’s strongest disinfectant, hypochlorous acid (HOCl). This natural solution is something our bodies produce to fight and destroy invading pathogens. It is 80 to 100 times more effective against bacteria, fungi, viruses and superbugs than bleach.
Although scientists have known about HOCI for nearly a century, it has not been widely used in the disinfectant industry because its shelf life is as short as 30 days. Our technology eliminates this problem. We have designed a generator for installation in healthcare facilities that produces unlimited amounts of a non-toxic HOCl disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner/degreaser. With this system, cleaning staff do not have to worry about shelf life or solution availability due to supply chain considerations or market demand.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency states that disinfectants can damage the surfaces of medical devices if they are not suitable for the surface material. Take the example of bleach: it is highly corrosive and reactive with metal and causes oxidation by the exchange of electrons between the metal and the bleach molecules.
Using Viking Pure’s non-corrosive cleaning solutions alleviates this problem and protects expensive equipment.
What are the other benefits of green cleaning products?
Since hospitals use stronger chemicals than we do at home, they can’t just throw them in a regular trash can. They have different waste management protocols, which are vital but not time or cost efficient. Viking Pure aims to make this a thing of the past by reusing containers.
A hospital where we recently installed our machine determined it was going to save $50,000 a year just on cardboard packaging that would otherwise have ended up in a dumpster.
Let’s not forget that single-use plastic has a huge impact on the ecosystem. We cannot expect to have a healthy planet when eight million pieces of plastic end up in our oceans every day. Sustainable packaging offers hospitals the opportunity to minimize their plastic consumption and be part of the change.
Ultimately, the number of people with hospital-acquired infections is proof that hospitals need to reconsider the cleaning products they used.
Partnering with green cleaning innovators like Viking Pure can help healthcare facilities become a model for institutions around the world, serving the sick, protecting the vulnerable and helping the planet we all call home. we.
This article was written by Joshua Schwartz, President and Co-Founder of Viking Pure Solutions, a natural cleaning and sanitizing solutions company.
Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.