Facilities That Can Benefit From Electrostatic Disinfection
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Since most businesses can relate to the risks associated with infectious diseases, manufacturers advise facility cleaning managers to focus on the financial impact of contagious outbreaks and how electrostatic technology can mitigate the spread of illnesses.
“There’s a significant cost associated with absenteeism, whether it’s from school or work,” says Tarvin. “More and more schools are realizing there’s a huge impact not only to the quality of education but to operating budgets when kids are absent due to illness. Electrostatic sprayers can provide an additional measure of confidence that schools are clean and disinfected.”
In healthcare facilities, the risk of infection is even more critical, with healthcare associated infections costing billions of dollars annually. Hospitals are starting to embrace the technology for applications such as terminal room cleans where approximately 50 percent of surfaces in patient rooms are overlooked, says Gray.
But more damaging than the loss of revenue is the loss of a company’s reputation. Nowhere is this more evident than in the cruise industry where infectious outbreaks on cruise ships are becoming more common, frequently dominating headlines.
ByoPlanet’s electrostatic machines are sold mainly to cruise lines — in fact, that’s how the company got started, says Lestage.
“The cruise industry gravitated toward this technology because they needed a way to decontaminate massive amounts of square footage on ships very quickly,” she says. “If they’re not successful in disinfecting surfaces, the risk of infection running through their ships during a cruise can be highly damaging to their business.”
Hospitals and nursing homes are already slowly starting to embrace electrostatic technology. However, more opportunities exist in education, says Tarvin.
“We see this being applied more and more to schools, daycares and universities,” he says. “Think about surfaces that are missed in a classroom where pathogens can be hiding — around complex-shaped objects, underside chairs and desks, or around chair legs and table legs. There are a number of surfaces that need to be disinfected but are too hard to reach.”
In addition to targeting difficult-to-reach areas, electrostatic machines are adept at disinfecting large spaces in a short period of time. Clorox’s electrostatic machine is used for cleaning and disinfecting schools, as well as athletic facilities, including locker rooms and gymnasiums.
“We can spray 18,000 square feet per hour — that’s huge,” says Velez. “If you try to spray a gym with a trigger sprayer, you’re not going to get all the surfaces. With the electrostatic sprayer you can do that in several minutes — and you can cover all surfaces.”
Manufacturers also recommend electrostatic systems for use in office buildings, as well as the food service industry to clean and sanitize food contact surfaces. Other uses include odor control applications to counteract smoke or mitigate urine smells in restrooms, says Tarvin.
While the cost of electrostatic machines may hinder some facilities from purchasing them (units range from hundreds to thousands of dollars), the financial burden associated with contagious infections is potentially much greater than the machine’s price tag, says Gray.
In one instance, EarthSafe Chemical Alternatives outfitted a hospital with electrostatic units following a C. diff outbreak.
“The infection rates dropped from six to one, at an average cost savings of $6,000 every time an infection was prevented,” says Gray. “So the cost of the entire system is offset by reducing one infection.”
Kassandra Kania is a freelancer based in Charlotte, North Carolina.