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Winning The Bacteria War

Inadequate provision of sanitary waste disposal services can make people ill – and in extreme cases can kill – a fact that should be taken very seriously with a recent case reported in the Indian press of a student at Stanley Medical College in Chennai dying of meningitis contracted when the drains at their hostel became blocked with sanitary waste. It’s vital that the people making a company’s purchasing decisions fully understand how bacteria behave in untreated waste.

In one gram of waste alone, there can be around one billion various bacteria with only 1,000 to 10,000 being required to cause a serious infection, a figure known as the ‘infectious dose’. Contact with a very small amount of untreated waste, or contact with a surface where waste has been, is enough to expose the user to sufficient bacteria to cause a skin or gastro-intestinal infection. If left untreated, the bacteria can multiply extremely quickly and will degrade the feminine hygiene waste to create malodours.

There are deodorising products, designed to mask unpleasant smells, which provide immediate odour control. These do not, however, have any anti-bacterial properties and, as germs multiply in waste, the odours intensify and the efficacy of the deodoriser is overpowered quickly. Microorganisms, such as Staph aureus, E. Coli, Salmonella and Candida, are left to multiply uncontrolled, creating increased risk of cross infection for users. Yet, over 40% of respondents in a recent on-line business poll said that they were unaware of the difference between the properties of a deodoriser and a germicide in feminine hygiene waste disposal.

Unlike deodorisers, germicides are active against germs in a feminine hygiene unit and rapidly inhibit their growth before killing them. However, contact-only germicidal products do not have the capability to kill germs in the waste throughout the unit: as new waste enters over time, the waste not in contact with the bottom or sides of the unit is left untreated and harmful bacteria are free to multiply rapidly. There is a measure of bacterial reduction called a ‘Log Drop’ and a ‘5 Log Drop’ represents a 99.999% reduction in potentially lethal bacteria in actual use conditions. This is the level of performance which is required for a product to consistently reduce bacteria to below the infectious dose in feminine hygiene applications. Products for use in feminine hygiene units which fail to achieve a ‘5 Log Drop’, being just 99.99% or less effective, may expose the user to potentially infectious levels of pathogenic bacteria.

Dr Phil Caunt from Genesis Biosciences, a global leader in fermentation, microbial and antimicrobial products, adds: “The upcoming European Biocidal Products Directive will regulate the sale and use of biocidal products to protect the public and the environment and prove that the products actually work. Activap™ that has gained accreditation under this Directive is as it attains the ‘5 Log Drop’ in real-time usage and actual conditions.”

The patented vapour action works throughout the interior space of a feminine hygiene unit to ensure unrivalled protection from the hazards associated with feminine hygiene waste disposal. Results obtained in independent tests show that it is equally effective against viruses including HIV, Hepatitis B and C. If you value the wellbeing of your staff and visitors, it pays to ensure that your feminine hygiene units contain a biocidal product which will consistently reduce bacteria to below the infectious dose.

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