Fogging with dry mist hydrogen peroxide has been used in sectors including pharmaceuticals, biotech food production and healthcare for a number of years to destroy a broad spectrum of microorganisms. Now a company in the UK is promoting its use in the wider world – in offices, retail, schools and public transport. ECJ finds out more about the technology and visits the nursery where the management has decided to implement a regular whole room disinfection programme.
Based in the UK, Infection Control Solutions (ICS) offers a range of whole room disinfection services in many markets. The company is the European supplier of Sentinel dry mist ionised hydrogen peroxide fogging generators from Halosil and its managing director is Oliver Canty.
He explains something about the history of fogging and whole room disinfection. “Traditionally it was used primarily in laboratories and food manufacturing, however the technology was not ideal because such bulky generators were needed.
“Technology did move on, however, and we successfully introduced machines into the National Health Service (NHS).”
In 2010 Canty discovered the light, easy-to-use Sentinel machine, developed in the US by Halosil. “When using the unit the operator produces a fine dry mist of fog with negatively charged hydroxyl ions that go up, around and under all exposed surfaces killing 99.9999 per cent of bacteria, viruses and spores,” Canty continues.
“The activation technology is facilitated by the chemical interaction of six per cent hydrogen peroxide and 60ppm AgNo3+(silver cations). The combination of the hydrogen peroxide ions and the silver produce the 99.9999 per cent kill rate.” The formula decomposes into water and oxygen, it requires no rinsing.
Now Canty firmly believes many public areas could benefit from whole room disinfection and is promoting the service to a wider market. He is also seeking to partner cleaning companies that may be interested in offering it as an add-on service. In addition, Public Health England, the government body responsible for protecting and improving the nation’s health, has approved hydrogen peroxide fogging as a technique for disinfection.
Anita Sahota is managing director of the Kangaroo Pouch group of nurseries. She explains why she is taking a proactive approach and is using whole room disinfection as a preventative measure rather than bringing it in only after an outbreak. “For me it’s the age of the children we are taking care of here that makes it a convincing argument. The children are very young and they are in an at-risk group.”
Her plan is to have the nurseries treated two or three times a year. “Our environment is not officially classified as high-risk but nurseries such as ours are a risk,” she continues.
“And for us it’s a really good selling point we can make to parents when they are selecting a nursery. We are taking a proactive approach to their children’s health and this process is not a legal obligation. We are the first nursery in Europe to take such a step.”
This is a non-healthcare, non-scientific application for whole room disinfection technology and Canty believes the future holds many opportunities for service providers.
And Sahota has a clear attitude to the investment she is making in introducing a regular schedule of whole room disinfection. “The case for investment is clear,” she says. “If we were to have an outbreak and it closed us down, what damage would that do to our business?”
The company providing the hydrogen peroxide fogging service at Kangaroo Pouch is ServiceMaster Contract Services, whose operators were trained by ICS. Managing director David Edwards explains: “This system offers a 6 log level of decontamination, which certainly makes it suitable for the education and healthcare sector for example. However the real challenge for us service providers now is to break into the market by educating customers about its benefits.
“I would like it to be the norm for whole room disinfection in certain applications to be carried out on a regular, scheduled basis. But that is currently not the case and clients like Kangaroo Pouch are rare.”
Edwards believes the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in the UK should be influencing a more proactive approach to this type of treatment. The CQC is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. “However it’s true that providing hard evidence about the benefits is a challenge,” he admits.
“Customers will only do the bare minimum – such as when an outbreak happens for example,” he concludes.
Originally published on European cleaning Journal