by John Coetzee on 24/09/12 at 10:17 am
According to the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), accredited cleaning products and sanitizers used in the South African market are purported to have a 99.9% pathogen kill rate. Surely this professed kill rate should allay all fears with regards to the serious threat of water and sanitation related diseased.
While germs are easily spread when poorly sanitized toilets or urinals are flushed due to the ‘Toilet Sneeze/Aerosol’ phenomenon, this shouldn’t present a problem if the germs have been destroyed due to adequate sanitation. But is this accreditation accurate? Have in-field tests been conducted to ensure that the 99.9% kill rate remains true outside of the laboratory?
What many a consumer may not realise is that the tests conducted by the SABS in order to certify various brand name cleaning products and sanitizers on the market, are carried out in controlled environments in a laboratory. Germs are placed in a petri dish and the undiluted cleaning agent is poured directly onto these germs. A ring forms in the petri dish as the cleaning agent goes to work and this is called the ‘zone of inhibition’. Once the cleaning agent has completed its job, the zone of inhibition is measured and it is based on this that many products are given a 99.9% kill rate. It is accurate that, when directly applied to common pathogens found in toilets and urinals, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the kill rate of these products may well be 99.9%. But what happens when these products are used in an actual toilet?
Wall mounted sanitizers are generally set to dispense sanitizing fluid into a toilet or urinal every 20 minutes for eight hours a day, five days a week. One refill pack of fluid will last about six weeks and consists of 310ml of sanitizing fluid, meaning that only 0.1043ml of sanitizer is dispensed every 20 minutes. Now consider the fact that, not only does the single trickle of sanitizer only make contact with about 0.5% of the actual toilet bowel, but it is also dispensed directly into the two and a half litres of water in the toilet, effectively diluting the volume of sanitizing fluid 2500 times. If the toilet is flushed during this time, the liquid is further diluted by the six to seven litres of water dispensed from the cistern, diluting it a further 6000 to 7000 times. Although a urinal does not contain water at all times, 99.5% of the urinal’s surface area is also untouched by the trickle of sanitizing liquid, and when flushed one to two litres of water is released, diluting the sanitizing liquid 1000
to 2000 times.
In an effort to dispel possibly misleading accreditations, Managed Care Economical Solutions (MCES) tasked Microchem Lab Services with evaluating and determining the killing efficacy of several QAC based disinfectants, while at the same time testing MCES’ bio formulate (enzymatic) sanitizer; Odorite DCC, against the common pathogens S-aureus, E- coli and P-aeruginosa. The study was termed ‘the full challenge test study’.*
The results of the in-depth testing conducted, and the now proven scientific facts, conclude that, once diluted through the water in the toilet bowl and through flushing, the efficacy of the brand-name cleaning products was decreased to as low as 4.1%; hardly the 99.9% accreditation level supplied by the SABS. Yet, in virtually every area of testing, Odorite DCC was actually and scientifically 99.9% effective. Only once it was diluted 8500 times, did Odorite’s efficacy drop below the 90% mark, but still showed an average of 74.87% efficacy, as opposed to that of the brand-name products which was found to be only 28.65% on average at this dilution.
According to the findings of the Microchem Lab, the difference between these cleaners – and the reason for Odorite’s superior kill rate and efficacy – is that its active ingredient is biological, comprising of Bacillus Subtillus (bacteria). This means that, when a sanitizing dispenser dispenses Odorite fluid into the toilet bowl or urinal, the live enzyme covers the entire surface area of the toilet bowl (not just the visible trickle path into the water).
Due to the morphological structure of Bacillus Subtillus, which is larger than that of the harmful organisms with which it is competing, this product inhibits the growth of other microorganisms as it multiplies as it eats the food source available. These bacteria multiply faster than the germs present in the toilet bowl and therefore kill these germs by destroying their food source leaving them with no sustenance.
Studies published in Griffins Public Sanitation show that better sanitation produces an enhanced feeling of wellbeing. This and stringent health and safety regulations result in millions being spent by corporate South Africa every day for a safety facility which scientifically does not perform according to supposed standards, leaving consumers and toilet facility users at risk. Is this the biggest toilet scam pulled by hygiene companies, or are consumers expected to calculate the decreased kill rate efficacy through dilution themselves?
John Coetzee is an expert in green cleaning solutions. He is the owner at Managed Care Economical Solutions (MCES), a company that specialises in green cleaning solutions, green odour cap removal, bio enzyme technology and green hygiene technology. Since its launch, MCES has evolved to also incorporate pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and bio-enzymes. View more articles by John Coetzee.