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  • 5 Important Considerations When Selecting a Disinfectant or Sanitizer

    Sep 15, 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic pushed disinfection and sanitization to the forefront of public consciousness like never before, revealing also just how misunderstood these crucial infection prevention products are. As spiking COVID-19 cases coincide with the beginning of what is expected to be a rough flu season, public health experts are once again warning of a possible “twindemic.” Cleaning professionals may not be able to halt the threat of either virus altogether, but a renewed commitment to infection control best practices is certainly a vital step in the right direction—starting with careful selection of disinfectants and sanitizers.

    Before jumping in to the 5 most important factors to consider when choosing a disinfectant or sanitizer, a common misconception needs to be dispelled: While disinfecting and sanitizing are both commonly employed strategies to protect public health, they are not the same.

    • Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Surface disinfectant products are subject to more rigorous EPA testing requirements and must clear a higher bar for effectiveness than surface sanitizers.
    • Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements, without necessarily eliminating them completely.

    How does one know, first, which type of product to use and, second, which specific product within that type to choose? Read on!

    1. Target germs

    Sanitizers and disinfectants claim to kill organisms so both are regulated as pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In order to be classified as a sanitizer or a disinfectant, a product must meet specific testing requirements against certain bacteria, and their efficacy data must be reviewed by the EPA. Any claims made outside of those specific bacterial claims—such as other bactericidal claims, virucidal claims, and fungicidal claims—are considered additional and must also be supported by data and approved by the EPA.

    Though widely held, the belief that sanitizers can only kill bacteria is incorrect; sanitizers and disinfectants can both carry kill claims against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. That said, due largely to differences in active ingredient concentration, disinfectants tend to have a wider range of kill claims than sanitizers so are preferred when the objecting is stopping disease transmission.

    When deciding between individual products, it’s best to consult each label to identify which best addresses your pathogens (and strains) of greatest concern, which is often informed by facility type and/or area. In a childcare setting, for example, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may be of concern, or VRE in a healthcare environment, and Serratia may be a target in a facility’s restroom, while MRSA is a focus in their gym.

    Because SARS-CoV-2 and influenza are high priorities throughout most facility types and areas, public health antimicrobial products with a wide range of claims against viruses are particularly suitable. Betco® infection prevention products that are EPA recommended for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 can be viewed here and here, and some of their more widely applicable kill claims—including influenza—are listed here. For a comprehensive document of all Betco disinfection claims, please click here to contact us.

    2. Surface type

    Disinfectants and sanitizers are suitable for use on most hard, non-porous surfaces, but extra caution must be taken when it comes to food-contact surfaces, or areas where food may be prepared, served, or stored. While disinfectants can be used on food-contact surfaces, they must be rinsed with potable water after the required dwell time. Sanitizers, on the other hand, are divided into both food-contact and non-food-contact categories, and most food-contact sanitizers have directions for use on food-contact surfaces WITHOUT rinsing (though the specific label should always be consulted), like Sanibet™ RTU and Symplicity™ Sanibet at proper dilution. As such, they are usually favored for food service settings.

    When it comes to soft, porous surfaces, such as carpets, curtains, and upholstery, no product can make legal claims of disinfection. Though these surfaces cannot be disinfected, they can be sanitized, and there are both disinfectants (like Betco Triforce) and non-food-contact sanitizers that have soft surface sanitization claims. Appropriateness for use as a soft-surface sanitizer would of course be indicated on the product label.

    Finally, label directions should always be consulted to determine if a certain disinfectant or sanitizer can be used on sensitive surfaces.

    3. Intended application

    It is crucial to consider whether a disinfectant or sanitizer is compatible with your intended application according to the label directions, and contact time or dwell time in particular cannot be overemphasized. In order for either of these product types to work as intended, the surface or object must remain wet for the entire length time that is listed on the label. If cleaning staff members are working under significant time constraints, a product that eliminates enough of your pathogens of concern in a shorter amount of time may be a better choice than a product that takes longer. Dwell times for Betco disinfectants against common pathogens are outlined here.

    In a similar vein, the time needed to take additional steps before or after application may influence product choice, such as rinsing food-contact surfaces after use of a disinfectant. As another example, almost all sanitizers require pre-cleaning, but many “combination” disinfectant cleaners allow clean teams to cut pre-cleaning out except in cases of gross filth or heavy soil.

    Other facets of application that must be evaluated revolve around product format. Are tools and training in place to ensure proper dilution of chemical concentrates? Is there adequate room in the supply closet to house enough bottles of ready-to-use (RTU) product? Additionally, except in the case of wipes, the compatibility of available equipment with a specific product should also be reviewed on the label.

    4. Safety

    Any sanitizer or disinfectant sold in the U.S. is approved by the EPA, and just as efficacy data is required for approval, so is data regarding safety. Included in this are recommendations for personal protective equipment (PPE), which should be carefully considered during the product selection process. Not only should access to appropriate PPE be evaluated, but so also should ability and willingness of cleaning staff to adhere to more intensive requirements—such as a half respirator mask for electrostatic spraying of certain disinfectants.

    The general safety of all EPA-approved products when used in accordance with directions is not to say though that all sanitizers and disinfectants are created equally in this regard. The EPA actually has a Design for the Environment (DfE) program by which qualifying antimicrobial pesticides (disinfectants, sanitizers) can demonstrate their elevated safety for human and environmental health. Betco’s GE Fight Bac™ RTU is one such disinfectant. The EPA states on their website that each product that bears the DfE logo:

    • is in the least-hazardous classes (i.e., III and IV) of EPA’s acute toxicity category hierarchy;
    • is unlikely to have carcinogenic or endocrine disruptor properties;
    • is unlikely to cause developmental, reproductive, mutagenic, or neurotoxicity issues;
    • does not require the use of Agency-mandated personal protective equipment;
    • has no unresolved or unreasonable adverse effects reported;

    For food-contact sanitizers, NSF food service certification verifies that a product has been proven safe to use in food and beverage processing and food service establishments. NSF, a highly respected, independent third party, requires rigorous testing to ensure sanitizers, disinfectants, and other types of products comply with food safety schemes. Our NSF products are documented here.

    5. Cost

    Finally, as with any selection of any cleaning solution, cost is a factor. Concentrates dispensed via chemical management systems—such as Betco FastDraw®—can certainly help cut down on costs by providing a much lower "in-use cost" as compared to ready-to-use products. Other benefits include decreasing shipping weight, guaranteeing accurate dilution of cleaning chemicals, eliminating spills, and discouraging theft. 

    In addition, purchasing the types of “combination” products mentioned above can lead to savings through reduced inventory and stocking levels:

     

    If you need more help selecting a Betco disinfectant for any given application, head over to our Disinfectant Selector Guide on our Disinfection Solutions page. Answer a few simple questions like preferred format, primary application, and food-contact or soft-surface sanitization needs and the tool will pick the best product for you. For help building the framework and confidence needed to ensure healthy facilities during and beyond this crucial period, turn to our Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program. Combining evidence-based infection control strategies supported by agencies such as the CDC, EPA, and FDA with tactics to put the minds of facility leadership and occupants at ease, this 5-step program is the ultimate weapon against infectious diseases.

     

  • 4 Reasons Facility Managers Should Embrace Restroom Automation

    Aug 27, 2021

    Restrooms are small spaces that have a big impact on facilities. Because they are the number one health hazard in a majority of buildings and are, on average, the number two most visited room, contamination from a restroom’s 77,000 bacteria and viruses tends to spread to other areas. Restrooms also have a disproportionately large affect on the perception of building occupants regarding overall cleanliness and prompt the greatest number (50%) of complaints.

    Clearly, the importance placed on restrooms by savvy facility managers and the cleaning and maintenance programs they implement is not misplaced. Recently, endeavors to improve restrooms have revolved around automation, with major benefits that warrant consideration for any facilities with restrooms that have not yet been upgraded with automatic, touch-free fixtures.

    1. Enhanced Perception of Cleanliness

    According to a survey of 2,050 U.S. adults conducted by The Harris Poll earlier this year, restroom automation has the power to seriously improve individuals’ perception of an entire facility’s cleanliness.

    • 59% stated that the presence of touch-free hand hygiene dispensers would boost their overall impression of cleanliness.
    • 60% indicated that inclusion of touch-free paper towel dispensers would enhance their feeling that a facility is clean.
    • 65% agreed that touch-free toilets and faucets would positively impact their opinion of a building’s sanitary practices.

    Given responses to a different survey by Bradley Corp., the ramifications of those perceptions shouldn’t be underestimated:

    • 64% of people said they make a conscious decision to choose a business based on cleaner, well-maintained restrooms.
    • 52% stated they’re likely spend more money at a business with a well-maintained restroom.
    • 55% shared that they’d be unlikely to return to a business after a bad restroom experience.

    Restrooms with more touchless accessories correlate to a better perception, and a better perception correlates to repeat business and customer loyalty; whether or not a facility manager truly understands this equation can significantly impact the bottom line. This is especially true in a COVID-19 world, where the relationship between cleanliness of environment and personal health and safety continues to be emphasized.

    2. Infection Prevention

    The notion that restroom automation improves cleanliness is actually rooted in science, as nearly 80% of illness-causing germs are spread by hands. Hands coming into contact with and then transferring germs to the nose, mouth, eyes, or environmental surfaces is particularly concerning in restrooms, given that surfaces within them often function as reservoirs of contamination. Fortunately, increasing the number of touchless fixtures decreases the number of touch points, especially high touch points, by which facility occupants encounter and spread germs, directly reducing the transmission of infection.

    Studies also show that individuals wash their hands more often when they feel safe to do so. Because handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens (see Why Skin Cleansers Are Effective Against Viruses), it is important to foster feelings of safety and encourage compliance through touch-free soap and sanitizer dispensers, faucets, and paper towel dispensers. In fact, 30% more people will wash their hands if touch-free products are provided.

    Soap and sanitizers should also be free from contamination, which is best achieved through a sealed system (for more information on bulk soap dispenser contamination, click here). Otherwise, not only will visitors to the restroom be less likely to wash their hands, but also those who do wash their hands with contaminated soap will experience an increase in bacteria on the skin.

    Increase handwashing compliance with annual savings of up to 60%!

    The Clario® Touch-Free Dispensing System from Betco® stretches hand care budgets without sacrificing the safest, cleanest space possible.

    • The pump is built in to the dispenser and not allocated in the cost of each refill
    • Sanitary, factory-sealed refill bags eliminate cross contamination
    • Precise portion control for cost-effective dispensing (see #3 below)
    • Industry-leading 98% “no-waste” evacuation for more usable product per bag
    • Product formulations with EcoLogo, FDA, and NSF certifications
    • Twice the battery life of the leading brand
    • Durable ABS construction and 2-year warranty for customer peace of mind

    3. Greater Cost Savings

    Automation allows facility managers to decrease waste and associated cost through exact proportioning. Because touch-free fixtures are programmed to dispense a certain amount of product or water at one time, the result is often a reduction in the amount used.

    • Automatic hand hygiene dispensers prevent the reflexive double or even triple pump common among users of manual dispensers by dispensing the exact right amount of soap or sanitizer needed. Use of foaming products instead of lotion soap or gel sanitizer further compounds savings, as foam lasts twice as long.
    • Touchless paper towel dispensers allow users one sheet at a time. This eliminates the option to unnecessarily grab handfuls of paper towels, which are almost as likely to end up on the countertop or floor as in the trash.
    • The average person uses over a quart of water when washing their hands for the recommended 20 seconds with a standard faucet, but touch-free faucets reduce water waste by turning flow off during handwashing steps that don’t require running water, like lathering. Many automatic faucets feature low flow aeration to further lessen the amount of water discharged. Plus, they prevent restroom users from leaving the faucet running.
    • Touch-free toilets and urinals also decrease water usage by thwarting multiple flushes in a short period of time and those who hold manual handles down longer than necessary in a (misguided) attempt to increase flushing power. Some automatic urinal flush valves can also be programmed to flush once in a specific period of time. 

    Retrofit any faucet with a low flow aerator and start saving!

    Typical commercial faucets are supplied with flow rates of 1.5–2.2 gallons per minute (gpm). Our Low Flow Faucet Aerator converts them to 0.5gpm.

    • Reduces both water usage and energy costs required to heat water
    • Installs in minutes
    • Fits most standard faucets

    Save up to 40,000 gallons of water or $200–600 per urinal per year!

    Betco’s SmartValve® Auto turns nearly any urinal into a water-conserving urinal!

    • Set to flush every 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours for a cost-effective alternative to more consistent flushing
    • Earn LEED and BOMA 360 points
    • Easy installation
    • Couple with SmartSCREEN® to combat odor and scale buildup

    4. Increased Efficiency

    Automated fixtures not only make a restroom more efficient for those who are actually using it, they also increase efficiency for cleaning and maintenance teams, many of which are already stretched thin by new cleaning and disinfection protocols spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Exactly how touch-free accessories allow facility managers and their staff to “do more with less” is implicit in #1–3 above.

    • Restrooms that are perceived as clean and well-maintained are more likely to be respected and kept that way by those who use them.
    • Fewer touch points in a restroom also equal fewer touch points for staff to clean and disinfect.
    • Precise proportioning results in less frequent product outages and less time spent replacing refills.
    • Automation prevents vandalism common in some types of facility. For example, a student in a school restroom would have a more difficult time flooding a restroom with touchless faucets and paper towel dispensers. 

     

    Once high-tech, restroom automation is becoming mainstream. With advantages like these, it’s little wonder that the large demand for touch-free hand hygiene dispensers, paper towel dispensers, flush valves, and faucets is expected to grow 37% by 2023. If you’re a facility manager or distributor interested in leveraging Betco’s touchless Clario® dispensers, hand soap, sanitizer, Smart Restroom System, or chemical products to improve restroom experiences, please fill out the online form here

  • 9 Tactics Schools Can Use to Combat the Delta Variant

    Aug 03, 2021

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a near-total shutdown of schools in the spring of last year, students, teachers, school staff, their families, and local communities have shared dual fears about education and safety. With the Delta variant now surging through the U.S., the 2021–22 school year is shaping up to be similarly concerning, and schools will likely need to quickly and continually adjust their reopening plans in response to the rapidly changing virus.

    With the back-to-school season just around the corner, the time is now for everyone with a stake in uninterrupted in-person learning—from district and school leaders to distribution partners and cleaning professionals to parents—to get up to speed on best tips for transmission prevention.

    What Is the Delta Variant?

    “…compared to the Alpha variant, Delta spreads 50% faster [and] has a 50% higher contagion rate.”

    Delta is the name of a strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Originating in India during the winter of 2020, the mutation that differentiates the Delta variant from others allows the “spike protein” to bind more effectively to the surface of cells. As a result, compared to the Alpha variant, Delta:

    • Spreads 50% faster.
    • Has a 50% higher contagion rate.

    As of writing, the Delta variant accounts for about 85% of cases in the U.S. and is on track to become the dominant strain in the world.

    The symptoms caused by the Delta variant also tend to differ from those traditionally associated with COVID-19, with loss of taste or smell and cough being less commonly reported, and fever, sore throat, and runny nose being more commonly reported.

    Why Are Schools of Particular Concern?

    “Studies have shown that children are 2.5 times more likely to catch the Delta variant…”

    Studies have shown that children are 2.5 times more likely to catch the Delta variant than those in the 18–49 age range. This is due in part to the fact that no vaccine is currently approved for children under 12, and that vaccination rates for eligible children over 12 are comparatively low.

    The increased likelihood of children becoming ill with COVID-19, coupled with the higher transmissibility of the Delta variant mentioned in the section above, has stoked concerns for schools everywhere, and especially where vaccine uptake is low. Indeed, outbreaks in both schools and the community at large can grow exponentially and more quickly than with previous strains.

    How Can Transmission Be Prevented?

    According to Cleanlink, the cleaning industry’s leading information resource for distributors, building service contractors, and in-house cleaning professionals, “the next best step for facility cleaning managers looking to keep occupants safe is continuing the practices of hand washing, disinfecting key touchpoint[s], and reinforcing the priority of students staying home at the sight of any symptoms.”

    These recommendations are firmly rooted in the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While schools and districts should also consult state, local, territorial, and tribal public health departments, the CDC’s proposed policies are generally considered the gold standard. The July 9, 2021, iteration on which this post is based emphasizes selecting and implementing the multiple, layered prevention strategies summarized below based on:

    • Level of community transmission.
    • Community and school COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
    • Community and school outbreaks or trends.
    • Screening testing program for non-vaccinated individuals.
    • Ages of students and relevant social and behavioral factors.

    (1.) Cleaning and Disinfection

    The CDC indicates that cleaning once a day is usually sufficient enough to remove potential virus particles that may be on surfaces, and that disinfecting with EPA List N disinfectants “removes any remaining germs on surfaces, which further reduces any risk of spreading infection.” Other CDC-issued advice includes:

    • Pre-cleaning surfaces that are visibly dirty prior to disinfection, unless the disinfectant’s label cites both cleaning and disinfection.
    • Continuing to prioritize high-touch surfaces, such as counters, tables, pens, doorknobs, stair rails, desks, phones, toilets, faucets.
    • Both cleaning and disinfecting if someone inside the school has been sick or tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. For best practices, see #13 in Part 1: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ.
    • Cleaning and/or disinfecting more frequently in high-traffic shared spaces, due to the presence of those with increased risk for severe illness, or based on some of the factors listed above (high community transmission, low vaccination rates, etc.).
    • As always, keeping disinfectants out of the reach of children and following all label directions, paying close attention to PPE, dwell time, and application method.
    • Avoiding “disinfection” methods for which effectiveness against COVID-19 has NOT been established (ultrasonic waves, high-intensity UV radiation, LED blue light).

    For more information on which surfaces to disinfect, as well as how to clean and/or disinfect soft or porous surfaces, laundry, and electronics, click here and see #9–12 in Part 1 of our COVID-19 FAQ. To learn about SARS-CoV-2 specifically regarding food-contact surfaces, children’s toys, and outdoor areas, please consult Part 2: SARS-CoV-2 /COVID-19 FAQ, #18, #22, and #35.

    A shield that reads
    How do you communicate that a facility is clean and safe?

    With our broad range of disinfectants and highly rated Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program, Betco® is helping facilities achieve a new level of clean. Download our free tools to help put building occupants at ease. Click here to learn more and order your free Advanced Clean Facility static cling today.

    (2.) Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

    It is still necessary to teach, monitor, and reinforce healthy personal habits for both fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals, as well as provide adequate supplies. These behaviors include:

    • Covering coughs and sneezes.
    • Frequently washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more, helping young children as necessary.
    • Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when handwashing is not possible.

    (3.) Promoting Vaccination

    According to the CDC, “vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy,” and it is believed important for teacher, staff, eligible students, and families. Schools and districts should consider:

    • Providing information about COVID-19 vaccination—including where vaccinations are available (visit vaccines.gov for details)—through hosting informational sessions, using CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkits, etc.
    • Encouraging vaccine trust and confidence, specifically by adapting key messages based on the school and community populations.
    • Making vaccination as easy and convenient as possible by:
      • Partnering with public health authorities or local healthcare organizations.
      • Offering vaccines on-site
      • Allowing absences for the purposes of getting vaccinated or recovering from potential side effects.

    (4.) Consistent and Correct Mask Use

    While schools may universally require masks depending on the factors listed above and especially if serving students under 12, the CDC advises that:

    • Teachers, staff, and students (age 2 and older) who are NOT fully vaccinated wear a mask indoors, unless they are exempt due to:
      • Age (under 2).
      • Disability.
      • Risks to health or safety.
    • It is not generally necessary for teachers, staff, and students who are fully vaccinated to wear a mask indoors.
    • It is not generally necessary for vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask outdoors, unless in a crowded area or engaging in close-contact activities.
    • Everyone, including passengers and drivers, be required to wear masks on school transportation (regardless of vaccination status or policies at school).

    (5.) Physical Distancing

    While the CDC broadly recommends that anyone who is not fully vaccinated maintains a distance of at least 6’ from others who are not in their household, within classrooms:

    • At least 3’ of physical distance should be maintained.
    • When 3’ is not possible:
      • Distance to the extent possible.
      • Lean on other prevention strategies, such as regular cleaning or cohorting.
      • Do NOT exclude students from in-person learning for the purposes of distancing.

    (6.) Ventilation

    In order to reduce the number and concentration of virus particles in the air, the CDC suggests:

    • Opening several doors and windows.
    • Using appropriate fans to increase air circulation.
    • Changing HVAC or air filtration systems as necessary.
    • On buses in particular, opening windows a few inches.

    (7.) Screening Testing to Promptly Identify Cases, Clusters, and Outbreaks; (8.) Staying Home When Sick and Getting Tested; (9.) Contact Tracing, in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine

    According to the CDC’s guidelines, it is NOT necessary for fully vaccinated individuals to participate in screening testing. Those who have NOT been fully vaccinated, however, should participate in screening testing that:

    • Quickly identifies cases, so teachers, staff, and families of students who were close contacts can be informed within the same day if possible.
    • Is performed at least once per week, with results reported in 24 hours or less.
    • Takes privacy laws into consideration.

    Schools should work with state and local health departments to confidentially provide information about people diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.

    • Those with a positive COVID-19 test should isolate.
    • Individuals who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated should quarantine.
    • It is not necessary for fully vaccinated individuals without symptoms to quarantine or get tested after exposure.

    Regardless of vaccination status, anyone with symptoms of infectious illness should stay home and consult their healthcare provider. Such absences should be non-punitive for students, teachers, and staff. 

     

    Like you, Betco believes that in-person learning benefits students and communities. Our team can answer your questions, provide advice, and offer insights to help schools continue their fight for safe education against the larger COVID-19 pandemic and the Delta variant. To get in touch, please call us at 1-888-GO-BETCO, or click here to fill out an online form.

  • Prevent Bulk Soap Dispenser Contamination

    Oct 14, 2020

    The conjunction of Global Handwashing Day and the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of handwashing as one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of viruses and other pathogens (see: Why Skin Cleansers Are Effective Against Viruses). Together, we can ensure every person in every facility has access to contamination-free soap.

    Research by the American Society for Microbiology has found that using contaminated soap actually INCREASES bacteria on hands. Upgrading to closed sanitary sealed dispensing systems prevents cross contamination, but it isn't always feasible. To keep bulk soap dispensers from becoming contaminated, check out these tips:

    Click here to view our array of hand hygiene products, including skin cleansers and dispensers.

  • 3 Tips for Handling Difficult Cleanup After a Disaster

    Sep 24, 2020

    After floods, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, the cleanup phase begins. Owners of facilities, businesses, or homes, maintenance personnel, and others should follow the tips and product recommendations below when grappling with the water damage, mold growth, contaminated water supply, increased prevalence of disease, and other hazardous conditions that often accompany disasters.

    1. Put safety first.

    When assessing a building’s condition and repairing damage or otherwise preparing to get back up and running, safety is the single most important consideration. If local officials have indicated that it is safe to return to the area, it is critical to:

    • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including:
      • Hard hat
      • Goggles
      • Heavy work gloves (rubber if sewage is present)
      • N95 mask or respirator with a higher level of protection
      • Waterproof boots with steel toe and insole
      • Earplugs or protective headphones (if working with loud equipment)
    • Wait until daylight to visit the site, especially if the power is out, so it will be easier to spot and avoid danger.
    • Visit the site with a partner, if possible.
    • Check for structural damage and downed power lines before entering the building.
    • Test major appliances one at a time and don’t use wet or damaged appliances.
    • Be wary of:
      • Standing water, which could have submerged debris or carry an electrical charge from underground or downed power lines.
        • If there is pooled water and you can turn off the electricity without actually standing in the water, then do so. Otherwise, call an electrician.
      • Gas leaks
        • If a gas leak is suspected, turn off the central valve if possible, leave the area immediately, and contact the utility company, taking care to avoid any actions that could cause a spark.

    2. Prioritize removal and prevention of mold.

    If standing water has been present in the building for more than 24 hours, it is safe to assume that mold is growing. As continued mold growth in the wake of a natural disaster often proves to be a difficult and long-term problem, it is important to dry everything and remove all mold as quickly as possible, ideally within 24 to 48 hours.

    • If there is no electricity, use a generator to power equipment, but ensure it is at least 20 feet away from the building and is operated with a proper transfer switch or interlock device.
    • Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove standing water.
      • Product recommendation: Workman® 20 (E83012-00) 20-gallon wet/dry vacuum with powerful 1.75 hp motor for maximum recovery and multi-task toolkit.
    • Remove all soaked materials, including furniture, and dry or discard them.
    • Remove mud or silt before it dries.
    • Open doors and windows.
    • Use fans, dehumidifiers, and similar devices to blow air out of/away from the building and aid in the drying process.
    • Check to see if water has seeped into your HCAV system, behind walls, into the building’s insulation, beneath the carpet or floor boards, behind tiles, and similarly “hidden” areas.
      • HVAC flooding leads to corrosion, mold growth, and other problems. An affected system will likely need to be entirely replaced.
      • Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
      • Remove and discard carpet that has been flooded with highly contaminated water and/or soaked for more than 48 hours. For salvageable carpet, a hot-water extraction holds the best chance for remediation.
        • Product recommendations:
          • Fiberpro® 20 (E87303-00)  carpet extractor with 20-gallon solution and recovery tanks, Carpet and Rug Institute certification, and floating vacuum shoe for superior water recovery.
          • Fiberpro® 8 (E87304-00)  carpet extractor with 8-gallon solution and recovery tanks, Carpet and Rug Institute certification, and floating vacuum shoe for superior water recovery.
          • Fiberpro® ES-Steam™ (402)  for extraction with a highly concentrated formula that quickly penetrates heavy soil and eliminates odors at their source.
          • Green Earth® Peroxide Cleaner (336)  as a carpet pre-spray with reduced toxicity and powerful mold removal capabilities.
          • Green Earth® BioActive Solutions™ Push® (133)  with cultured bacteria and malodor counteractants capable of digesting organic waste for use with or without powered equipment.
    • Clean everything with mold on it by using appropriate products according to label directions.
    • Fix any leaks as soon as possible.
    • For especially intense and/or hazardous cleanup, consult a professional.

    3. Prevent disease.

    Flood water can contain dangerous pathogens, which is why it is important to safeguard your health and the health of others after a natural disaster.

    To learn more about any of the products recommended above, click on each. For information regarding specific cleanup procedures, please click here, sign in or register, then click Betco U to access our training library.

  • Save Yourself from Fraudulent Disinfectant Products

    Sep 02, 2020

    Background

    Prompted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, surges of profiteers have entered a variety of high-demand product categories, from masks and gloves, to hand sanitizers, and more recently to disinfectants. Many of these entrants—some of whom pivoted out of financial necessity, others of whom had capital and sensed opportunity to cash in—are operating in a “Wild West” of sorts, with complete ignorance or disregard of regulations and quality specifications.

    • N95-style masks imported from overseas have fallen short of certification standards.
    • Sanitizers have been improperly labeled, riddled with false claims, formulated with suspect ingredients, or otherwise out of compliance with FDA guidelines.
    • The disinfectant market is now being exploited in a similar manner. We will reference the handful of examples pictured above throughout this post:
      1. Disinfectant that was falsely labeled as a registered disinfectant.
      2. Unregistered stickers that claim to provide protection against viruses without supporting evidence reviewed by the EPA.
      3. Unregistered disinfectant wipes shipped from Asia without EPA registration.
      4. Unregistered disinfectant that promises long-lasting or residual protection specifically from COVID-19 without supporting evidence reviewed by the EPA. 
      5. Unregistered lanyard that claims to provide 60-day residual protection against the virus without supporting evidence reviewed by the EPA.
      6. Services claiming use of multi-week residual disinfectant without supporting evidence and in direct conflict with statements from the EPA.

    EPA Regulation

    As explained in a previous post, disinfectants are considered pesticides—further classified as antimicrobial pesticides—because they control bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungi, which are considered pests. As such, they are regulated by the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, and any disinfectant sold or distributed in the United States must be registered with the EPA.

    In order to register a product, manufacturers submit:

    • Proposed labeling.
    • Safety data.
    • Efficacy data:
      • In order to be labeled a disinfectant, a product must meet specific testing requirements against certain bacteria.
      • Any virucidal claims, such as efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), are considered additional claims, and they must also be supported by data and approved by the EPA.

    If the EPA is satisfied with the information provided by the manufacturer, registration is granted. While the burden of EPA regulations and registration should pose a larger hurdle to entry into the disinfectant market, the tidal wave of newcomers is both mostly unaware of their violations and too large for the EPA to police. Eventually, these dishonest marketers will receive fines and be ordered to cease and desist, but until then, buyers (and users) must beware.

    Illegal Disinfectants

    Illegal disinfectants are sold or distributed without a valid EPA registration. This includes products without an EPA registration number listed on the label—such as examples 2 through 5 above—as well as products using a fake EPA registration number—such as example 1 (click here for more information).

    To ensure that a disinfectant is legal:

    • Don’t buy or use products from suspicious sources.
    • Don’t buy or use products that seem unusual in their packaging or labeling.
    • Check the label, which must be in English, for:
      • A valid EPA registration number (validity can be confirmed here).
      • A list of active ingredients, as any product registered with the EPA must state them on the label.
      • Hazard and precautionary statements.

    Illegal Claims

    As stated in the EPA Regulation section above, disinfectants may only make virucidal claims that are supported by data and approved by the EPA. This includes both legally registered and illegally unregistered disinfectants claiming to kill SARS-CoV-2.

    As stated in the EPA Regulation section above, disinfectants may only make virucidal claims that are supported by data and approved by the EPA. This includes both legally registered and illegally unregistered disinfectants claiming to kill SARS-CoV-2.

    There are also disinfectants approved by the EPA for use against SARS-CoV-2, based not on a demonstrated efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, but on demonstrated efficacy against:

    • A pathogen that is harder to kill than SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
    • A different human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

    To confirm the legitimacy of a disinfectant’s claim that it outright kills SARS-CoV-2 or that it is recommended for use against SARS-CoV-2 due to other kill claims:

    • Navigate here and input the EPA registration number found on the label. If there are 3 sets of numbers (separated by hyphens), only input the first 2. 
    • If there are no matching records found, the disinfectant’s claims are illegal—as is most evident in examples 4 and 5 above (which claim 99.9% protection against COVID-19 and to "block coronavirus," respectively).
    • If there is a matching record found, but the product information does not match the information on your label, it is likely a sub-registration marketed under a different name, which is legal. 
    • Note that List N search results also indicate whether a product is proven or simply expected to kill SARS-CoV-2.
    Because the EPA has not evaluated the “long-lasting” or “residual” efficacy of disinfectants against viruses, however, NO disinfectant can legally claim effectiveness against viruses . . .

    Residual Claims and Treated Articles

    There are products that claim 24-hour sanitizing against bacteria only. 

    Because the EPA has not evaluated the "long-lasting' or "residual" efficacy of disinfectants against viruses, however, NO disinfectant can legally claim effectiveness against viruses over hours—as in example 4 (24 hours)—days—as in example 5 (60 days)—or weeks—as in example 6 (36 weeks), with the exception of 1 recently granted short-term exemption.

    In a similar vein, there are antimicrobial pesticides that can be incorporated into plastics, textiles, or other materials to protect the “treated article” from mold or bacteria that would harm it, such as a shower curtain. These pesticides are used more in the manner of preservatives, preventing discoloration, odor, or deterioration, and treated articles may not have any claims associated with public health. In other words, treated articles CANNOT legally claim that they are effective against viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2.

    In other words, treated articles CANNOT legally claim that they are effective against viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2.

    Our Promise

    We would like to take this opportunity to assure our customers that each Betco® disinfectant is registered with the EPA and adheres to their every guideline. Not only can we guarantee our total regulatory compliance, but as demonstrated by our legacy in disinfectants, we can also guarantee their quality and efficacy.

    We have prioritized production toward disinfectants that appear on List N and are recommended for use against SARS-CoV-2. We are currently maximizing output of all products effective against the spread of COVID-19, and we continue to take every possible step to ensure the health and safety of our customers.

    If you would like to request information about List N disinfectants, please click here to fill out the online form, and a Betco representative will contact you.

  • FAQ: Methanol in Hand Sanitizers

    Aug 03, 2020

    Background

    Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning regarding hand sanitizers that are labeled to contain ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol) but have tested positive for unhealthy levels of methanol (or wood alcohol), which can be toxic to users. Contamination levels range from 1% to 80%.

    The agency maintains an online list—available here—of hand sanitizers that have tested positive for methanol contamination, as well as hand sanitizers that are purported to have been produced in the same facilities. As of July 29, 2020, all but 1 of the 86 products on the list are made in Mexico, and recalls and import alerts have been implemented for a vast majority.

    The ongoing ordeal has spurred many questions from our customers and the general public regarding methanol in hand sanitizers, which we have addressed below. 

    Do all hand sanitizers contain methanol?

    The FDA regulates the manufacture of hand sanitizers as over-the-counter drugs. Prior to COVID-19, all hand sanitizers sold in the U.S. were required to be made at FDA-registered facilities and formulated with United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Grade ethanol. USP Grade ethanol must be tested for adherence to very strict impurity limits, which are summarized in the table below.

    NameAcceptance Criteria
    MethanolNMT 0.5, corresponding to 200 μL/L
    Acetaldehyde and acetalNMT 10, expressed as acetaldehyde
    BenzeneNMT 2 μL/L
    Sum of all other impuritiesNMT 300 μL/L

    As you can see, USP Grade ethanol can contain methanol, and so too can the hand sanitizers that have been formulated with it. However, it is such a minute amount that it is far below contamination levels and has been deemed acceptable by the FDA.

    It is important to note that this is NOT the same as formulating a hand sanitizer with methanol, which is both dangerous and illegal. 

    How has methanol in hand sanitizers changed due to COVID-19?

    Due to the pandemic and resulting spikes in demand, the FDA has temporarily adjusted their policies to facilitate the production of greater quantities, though certain requirements must still be met.

    Among those requirements, which are available in their entirety online here, is an active ingredient of either:

    • Ethanol that is not less than 94.9% ethanol by volume* OR
    • USP Grade Isopropyl Alcohol

    So, under the temporary policy, ethanol no longer has to be USP Grade, but that does not mean that any ethanol can be used. Ethanol may be considered for use in hand sanitizer if:

    • It is produced in a facility used for consumable goods and with the same fermentation and distillation processes.
    • It is derived from synthetic processes and meets USP Grade or FCC16 (used in food applications) Grade requirements.
    • It is produced in facilities normally producing fuel or technical grade ethanol AND:

    ◦ It is produced using fermentation and distillation processes used for consumable goods, and no other additives or other chemicals have been added.
    ◦ It meets USP or FCC17 Grade requirements OR the conditions summarized in the table below.
    ◦ It has been screened for any other potentially harmful impurities (not specified in the USP or FCC requirements) possibly present based on the manufacturing environment.

    ImpurityInterim Limit under Temporary Policy
    MethanolNMT 630 ppm
    BenzeneNMT 2 ppm
    AcetaldehydeNMT 50 ppm
    Acetal (1,1-diethoxyethane)NMT 50 ppm
    Sum of all other impurities*NMT 300 ppm

    As you can see in the table above, there is flexibility for certain impurities under the temporary policy, including methanol. While more methanol is acceptable, the interim limit is still vastly lower than the contamination levels found in the banned hand sanitizers, and still no hand sanitizer can be formulated with methanol as an ingredient.

    *Lower ethanol content alcohol is acceptable in the temporary policy if it labelled accordingly, and the finished sanitizer meets an 80% ethanol concentration.

    **If fuel or technical grade ethanol does not meet these limits because the sum of all other impurities exceeds 300 ppm, it may still be considered for use if individual impurities are identified and meet the interim limits in Table 2 on p. 11 of the entire temporary policy.

    What is used in Betco® hand sanitizers?

    None of our hand hygiene products are formulated with methanol.

    The active ingredient in all Betco® hand sanitizers is USP (U.S. Pharmacopoeia) Grade ethyl alcohol that meets the stringent requirements specified by the FDA.

    In fact, Betco is an FDA-registered facility, which means we have proven that we have identified and are effectively preventing potential hazards regarding the hand hygiene solutions being produced in our facility, as well as strictly following cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) guidelines for their manufacture, fill, and shipment. The FDA even conducts audits of our facility, in which we have never incurred a major violation, thanks to:

    • On-staff scientists, who perform rigorous quality testing of raw materials—including ethanol—production and storage equipment, as well as final products.
    • A dedicated skin care manufacturing and filling room that prevents cross-contamination and features a closed system.
    • A quarantine area, from which skin care products are only released for shipping after having passed testing for contamination.
    • Storage of samples from every run 1 year past the expiration date and examination of them for product integrity prior to disposal

    The safety and health of our customers is our number one priority, and we take every possible step to ensure it. Hand sanitizers produced at Betco can be used with complete confidence in their ingredients, efficacy, and overall quality.

    How were the banned hand sanitizers contaminated?

    Although we don’t know for sure, it is safe to assume that if the level of methanol is over 1%, either a contaminated source of ethanol was used (certainly not compliant with FDA recommendations) or methanol—which is cheaper than ethanol—was intentionally added.

    How can I avoid hand sanitizers with methanol contamination?

    We encourage everyone to regularly check the list maintained by the FDA and to cease use of any hand sanitizer product from the companies or with the names or National Drug Code (NDC) numbers on the list. Do not use a hand sanitizer that:

    • Has been tested by the FDA and found to contain methanol.
    • Has been made at the same facility as a product that has been found to contain methanol.
    • Is labeled to contain methanol.
    • Is being recalled by the manufacturer or distributor.
    • Is fraudulently marketed as “FDA-approved” (no hand sanitizers are approved by the FDA).

    What should I do if I think I have been exposed to contaminated hand sanitizer?

    Methanol is toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. If you are experiencing symptoms of methanol poisoning—such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, weakness, visual disturbances, and loss of consciousness—seek immediate treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects.

    How do I dispose of suspect hand sanitizers?

    The bottle and remaining sanitizer within should be disposed of in a hazardous waste container. It is important not to flush or pour them down the drain or to mix them with any other liquids.

    Do you have other questions regarding methanol in hand sanitizers that were not addressed by this post? Please email us at social@betco.com, so we can add your question and the answer to this list.

  • 4 Reasons Your Business Should Focus on New GE Fight Bac™ RTU as an Alternative to Quat-Based Disinfectants

    Jul 10, 2020

    1. It's Sustainable

    Citric acid, the active ingredient in GE Fight Bac™ RTU, is one of the safest disinfecting active ingredients currently available, topping the list in terms of both human and environmental health considerations.

    As shown in the table above, citric acid:

    • Is not a carcinogen—nor is it likely to have endocrine disruptor properties.
    • Does not cause reproductive issues—nor is it likely to cause developmental, mutagenic, or neurotoxicity issues.
    • Is not a skin or lung irritant—nor does it have any unresolved or unreasonable adverse effects.
    • Is not toxic to aquatic life.
    • Does not break down slowly in the environment or accumulate in humans and other species.

    Further, each of these active ingredient safety and health assurances also extends to all of GE Fight Bac RTU’s inactive ingredients, which—along with its rating in the lowest EPA toxicity category—have qualified GE Fight Bac RTU for the EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) label for use on antimicrobial products, like disinfectants and sanitizers.

    This label is intended to help distributors and end users identify products that are proven safer by meeting the program’s stringent requirements and high standards. Currently, there are only 11 disinfectants that have qualified for DfE certification, less than half of which appear on EPA’s List N and are approved for use against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

    In fact, GE Fight Bac RTU and its ingredients are so nonhazardous that this product scores 0 for every category on the Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS) scale*! 

    • Minimal Health Hazard: The slash in the left box indicates that the chemical does not cause chronic health problems, and the 0 in the right box that these chemicals cause little or no significant acute health risk. This category includes chemicals that are basically nonirritating to the skin and eyes. 
    • Minimal Flammability Hazard: These chemicals will not burn when exposed to a temperature of 1500 degrees F for a period of 5 minutes.
    • Minimal Reactivity Hazard: These are chemicals that are normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and are not reactive with water.
    • Furthermore, no special technical protective measures are necessary, which is why the white box at the bottom usually reserved for PPE is blank.

    *HMIS is a voluntary hazard rating scheme to aid employers and employees in day-to-day compliance with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). It includes a rating system for acute and chronic health, flammability, and physical hazards, with ratings based on a 0–4 scale: 0 represents minimal hazards or risks, and 4 represents significant hazards or risks.

    2. It's Effective

    GE Fight Bac™ RTU is a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 15 viruses and bacteria in just 3 to 5 minutes, saving on time and labor costs.

    In 3 minutes, kill Hepatitis B and C and the common cold.

    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
    • Salmonella enterica
    • Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA
    • Aids Virus
    • Influenza A virus
    • Feline Calicivirus

    Plus, in 60 seconds, sanitize food contact surfaces against Staph and E. coli. GE Fight Bac RTU is also tuberculocidal, meeting OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standards.

    Because it has demonstrated efficacy against harder-to-kill feline calicivirus, citric-acid-based GE Fight Bac RTU is recommended by the EPA for use against SARS-CoV-2 under the emerging viral pathogen policy.

    All the various viruses and bacteria that GE Fight Bac RTU is proven effective against are listed in the table on the right.

    3. It's Versatile

    Because GE Fight Bac RTU is free from harsh chemicals, it can be used:

    • As a food contact sanitizer with no rinsing or wiping required.
    • In sensitive environments—such as day care centers.
    • On sensitive surfaces without leaving damage, streaks, or residue.

    A more complete listing of surfaces on which and areas in which GE Fight Bac RTU can be used are summarized in the table on the right.

    GE Fight Bac RTU is also versatile when it comes to application methods, because package sizes range from quart bottles, gallon bottles, and 5-gallon pails all the way up to 55-gallon drums and 275-gallon disposable totes. The quart bottles come with a trigger sprayer for immediate use, and the larger package sizes can be used to fill:

    • Pump-up sprayers
    • Electrostatic handheld sprayers, backpack sprayers, and carts
    • Airless sprayer floor units and carts

    4. It's Available

    Quaternary ammonium compounds—often referred to as simply “quats”—are the active ingredients in most disinfectants. In the U.S., the 3 main producers of quats create them by reacting alkyl halides with tertiary amines—the latter of which are made from ammonia and alcohols. An explosion in demand for quat-based disinfectants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with related challenges regarding importation of necessary raw materials from usual international sources, has led to quat shortages.

    As a result, alternative disinfectant active ingredients are gaining traction in the industry, such as citric acid, GE Fight Bac™ RTU’s active ingredient. Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits, particularly lemons and limes, and is currently much easier to source than quats.

    Because citric acid is abundantly available at the present moment, Betco is running a promotion on 55-gallon drums of GE Fight Bac RTU through the end of July. To learn more and begin leveraging this citric-acid-based disinfectant as a sustainable alternative to quat-based disinfectants, please click here.

  • Why Choose Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection to Achieve GBAC Star™ or Another Accreditation?

    Jun 26, 2020

    What Is the Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program?

    The Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program is a turnkey solution from Betco® with specific guidance and ready-to-use tools to prevent and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases—such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

    The program combines evidence-based infection control strategies supported by U.S. agencies—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—with tactics to put the minds of facility leadership and occupants at ease. It provides the framework and confidence to ensure healthy facilities needed by in-house and contract cleaners during and beyond this crucial period and is comprised of 5 easy-to-follow steps:

    1. Site Assessment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    2. The Right Application Method and Disinfectant
    3. Proper Infection Control Procedures
    4. Critical Touch Points
    5. Documentation of Tasks Performed

    What Is GBAC Star™ Accreditation?

    GBAC stands for the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, and it is a division of ISSA (The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic reopening, the council formed the GBAC Star™ performance-based facility accreditation program. Accreditation is intended to help facilities demonstrate a comprehensive system for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention, including:

    • Commitment to strict protocols
    • Confirmation of work practices, procedures, and documented systems in place
    • Convincing customers that a facility is safe for business

    Comprised of 20 steps, GBAC Star is promoted as the “gold standard of prepared facilities.” It is currently the industry’s only outbreak preparation, response, and recovery accreditation, though others may soon follow.

    How Does the Smart Tools Program Support Accreditation?

    Clearly, the goals of the Betco Smart Tools Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program and GBAC Star accreditation have much in common. Adoption of the Betco program and the act of seeking GBAC Star accreditation are extensions of the mission to provide safe and clean environments. Both communicate to facility occupants that providing services in a way that exceeds quality and compliance standards means something to your organization, and both lead to higher quality cleaning and disinfection, as well as better business performance.

    The difference between the two, however, becomes more apparent in the steps themselves. While the steps for accreditation focus on actions a facility must take, the Smart Tools program is your go-to source for easy and straightforward information on how to take those actions. For example, the GBAC Star accreditation stipulates that “the facility shall share their PPE requirements for their cleaning and disinfection activities with the GBAC STAR™ review team.” Step 1 in the Betco program equips you with the knowledge to determine which types of PPE will be necessary, as well as resources for proper donning and doffing techniques.

    In fact, the processes and tools in the 5 steps that comprise the Smart Tools Enhanced Facility Disinfection plug directly into the 20 steps that are required for GBAC Star accreditation, as demonstrated in the comparative guide below. In other words, Smart Tools provides a simple recipe and almost all of the ingredients for a stress-free and successful accreditation attempt the first time.

    Click here to download the flyer.

    With Smart Tools, you can get started immediately with our online tools that remove the guesswork and minimize disruption to your facility. Resources—many of which are available in both English and Spanish—include: 

    • Outlines: Guide selection of the best products and application methods based on the needs of a specific facility
    • Task cards: Explain cleaning procedures with step-by-step instructions and guide clean teams to specific chemical products and equipment to accomplish any cleaning or disinfection task
    • Wall charts: Define chemicals, show the proper methods of application, and highlight the surfaces on which chemicals should be used
    • Touch point lists: Establish a baseline for a successful disinfection program by identifying and confirming critical high-touch surface disinfection objectives
    • Certificates, posters, signs, flyers, and table tents: Provide reassurance to your employees, customers, and vendors that enhanced disinfection was completed according to the highest industry standards
    • Survey: Confirms your facility has been disinfected properly with EPA-registered products that meet CDC guidelines

    With Betco, you are also gaining a partner in the process every step of the way. Our experts provide practical, straightforward guidance for your specific business model. Whether your facility is large or small, new or established, Betco’s Smart Tools Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program can stand on its own and—should you wish to pursue GBAC Star accreditation—provide an “easy button” to help you streamline your application efforts for a positive outcome.

    If you’re interested in learning more, please click here to fill out the online form, and a Betco representative will contact you.

  • PART 2: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ

    May 22, 2020

    To view questions 1–13 in Part 1 of the SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ Series, please click here.

    14. What is the difference between masks and respirators?

    Respirators have filters to remove specific contaminants. Face masks simply create a barrier, preventing materials from getting into or excretions from getting out of the wearer’s mouth.

    15. What is the recommended PPE when performing corrective disinfection?

    • N-95 surgical mask or powered air purifying respirator (PAPR)
    • Eye protection – face shield, safety glasses, safety goggles
    • Disposable gown or properly laundered reusable covering
    • Gloves
    • Shoe covers or shoes that can be properly decontaminated

    16. Are all sprayers in the Application Method Guide available at Betco?

    No, Betco only makes the disinfectants that can be used in these sprayers. Please consult the applicator companies directly for purchase.

    17. Can I use microfiber wipes to apply the disinfectant?

    Yes, microfiber wipes are an excellent way to apply disinfectants. These wipes must be changed when visibly dirty and should be laundered on a frequent basis.

    18. Which products are safe to use when disinfecting food-contact surfaces?  

    All Betco disinfectants can be used on food-contact surfaces (areas where food may be prepared, served, or stored). You simply need to rinse with potable water after the required dwell time.

    Betco’s Symplicity™ Sanibet™ Multi-Range Sanitizer may be used to sanitize food contact surfaces and does not require a rinse with potable water. Please consult the product label for more specific instruction.

    19. How long do you have to wait after disinfection before allowing people to enter the room?

    This answer depends greatly on several conditions, such as the size of the room, the amount of ventilation and air flow in the room, and how the disinfectant is applied. In general, if spraying a coarse spray directly on the surface, people should be able to enter the room shortly after the necessary dwell time (5–10 minutes).

    20. How effective are alternative disinfection methods, such as ultrasonic waves, high-intensity UV radiation, and LED blue lights?

    From the CDC, “The efficacy of these disinfection methods against the virus that causes COVID-19 is not known. EPA only recommends use of the surface disinfectants identified on List N against the virus that causes COVID-19. EPA does not routinely review the safety or efficacy of pesticidal devices, such as UV lights, LED lights, or ultrasonic devices. Therefore, EPA cannot confirm whether, or under what circumstances, such products might be effective against the spread of COVID-19.”

    21. Can sanitizing tunnels at a building's exit or entrance prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    CDC does not recommend the use of sanitizing tunnels. There is no evidence that they are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Chemicals used in sanitizing tunnels could cause skin, eye, or respiratory irritation or damage.

    22. How do I disinfect children's toys?

    Be careful when disinfecting any item that could enter children’s mouths. The best recommendation is to wash the toys in soap and water, rinse, and allow to air dry. If this is not feasible, use either Betco’s Symplicity™ Sanibet™ Multi-Range Sanitizer or Sanibet RTU according to label directions, making sure the toys are completely dry before allowing children to use them.

    23. How long are dilutable disinfectants effective for after dilution? 

    Check the specific label. In general, if a disinfectant solution becomes visible dirty, it must be discarded. A few products at use-dilution have bactericidal stability for extended periods, like Symplicity Sanibet (up to 5 months) or Triforce (up to 1 year). Other diluted products on List N must be made fresh daily according to the EPA label.

    24. How often should cleaning and disinfecting be done?

    The CDC states, “Surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, bathroom surfaces, and handrails, should be cleaned with soap and water or another detergent at least daily when facilities are in use. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use. For example, certain surfaces and objects in public spaces, such as shopping carts and point of sale keypads, should be cleaned and disinfected before each use. Cleaning removes dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs, but it reduces the number of germs on a surface.”

    25. Is there any residual efficacy after the disinfectant dries?

    No, that is why it is important to disinfect high-touch surfaces and areas. Be wary of products that claim residual efficacy. These claims are only relevant to preserving the surface where they are applied (prevent odors or staining). They do not have residual viral efficacy and none of these products are recommended on List N.

    26. How long do I leave the disinfectant on the surface?

    All disinfectants have different and specific dwell times depending on the organism you are trying to kill. Refer to the EPA List N for the recommended dwell time for use against SARS-CoV-2.

    27. I have heard the virus can spread on shoes, is this true?

    A recent study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases suggests that SARS-CoV-2 can potentially be spread by shoes. In the study, researchers took samples from various surfaces at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China, the early epicenter of the outbreak—including samples from the soles of ICU staff members' shoes. Half of the samples taken from the shoes tested positive for the virus.

    This demonstrates the importance of disinfecting floors during corrective disinfection.

    28. Do you need to wipe down surfaces after disinfecting? 

    This depends on the disinfectant and the surface. Most surfaces can be allowed to air dry. For sensitive surfaces like electronic equipment, after the required dwell time, it is advised to wipe any residue from the surface. Food-contact surfaces should be rinsed with potable water after disinfecting.

    29. Is it safe to vacuum a facility after a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case has been present?

    According to the CDC, “The risk of transmitting or spreading SARS-CoV-2 during vacuuming is unknown. At this time, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 associated with vacuuming. If vacuuming is necessary, first follow the CDC recommendations for Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities that apply, which includes a wait time of 24 hours, or as long as practical.

    “After cleaning and disinfection, the following recommendations may help reduce the risk to workers and other individuals when vacuuming:

    • Consider removing smaller rugs or carpets from the area completely, so there is less that needs to be vacuumed. 
    • Use a vacuum equipped with a high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter, if available.
    • Do not vacuum a room or space that has people in it. Wait until the room or space is empty to vacuum, such as at night, for common spaces, or during the day for private rooms.
    • Consider temporarily turning off room fans and the central HVAC system that services the room or space, so that particles that escape from vacuuming will not circulate throughout the facility. 

    30. Do I need to disinfect the tools and equipment used after performing corrective disinfection? 

    Yes, it is advisable to disinfect all materials. Betco has a guide to proper equipment disinfection.

    31. How does the EPA regulate companies with cleaning services claiming to disinfect for COVID-19?

    The EPA does not specifically regulate cleaning companies. However, if the company uses a product or makes an efficacy claim that cannot be backed up by an EPA registration, then that is a violation, and the company can be subject to substantial fines and penalties.

    32. Are non-alcohol hand sanitizers effective?

    The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and has stated, “Hand sanitizers without 60-95% alcohol 1) may not work equally well for many types of germs; and 2) merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright.”

    33. How long can SARS-CoV-2 survive on various surfaces? 

    According to an NIH (National Institute of Health) study, SARS-CoV-2 remained active on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces for 2–3 days under the conditions in this experiment. It remained infectious for up to 24 hours on cardboard and 4 hours on copper. The virus was detectable in aerosols (in the air) for up to 3 hours. These times will vary under real-world conditions, depending on factors including temperature, humidity, ventilation, and the amount of virus deposited.

    34. What is the recommendation for areas that cannot be disinfected, like paper or cardboard (that break down when wet)?

    Since the virus has only been shown to survive for 24 hours on these surfaces, it is best to remove these items to a secure spot and not handle them for a few days.

    35. Should outdoor playgrounds in schools and parks be disinfected?

    From the CDC, “Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public.”

    36. Is it recommended to disinfect roads or sidewalks to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    CDC does not recommend disinfection of sidewalks or roads. Spraying disinfectant on sidewalks and roads is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. The risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 from these surfaces is very low and disinfection is not effective on these surfaces.

    37. Is it necessary to disinfect the duct work in the ventilation system?

    It is not necessary to disinfect the HVAC system, including ductwork. We are focusing on the high-touch points.

    38. Does an ATP meter show the virus is killed?

    An ATP meter shows how much organic material has been removed from a surface and is a good measure of cleaning performance. It cannot show if there are any microorganisms present or what those specific organisms are. The only way to do this is to swab the surface, transfer to a growth plate, and check for growth over 24–48 hours. This is normally done in a microbiology laboratory.

    Our new Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program provides the framework, tools, techniques, procedures, safety guidelines, and support materials for facilities of all types to develop and execute a comprehensive cleaning and disinfection work plan, allowing them to confidently reopen while keeping all who enter safe.  It combines evidence-based infection control strategies supported by agencies such as the CDC, EPA, and FDA with tactics to put the minds of facility occupants at ease in just 5 steps. Click here to learn more. 

    Click here to visit our dedicated SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 web page, which also has crucial information and resources.

  • Why Skin Cleansers Are Effective Against Viruses

    Apr 07, 2020

    Click here to view our array of hand hygiene products, including skin cleansers and dispensers.

  • PART 1: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ

    Mar 31, 2020

    To view questions 14–38 in Part 2 of the SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ Series, please click here.

    1. How do I know which disinfectants to use against SARS-CoV-2?

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided a list of recommended and approved disinfectants for our fight against COVID-19 through the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. You can view the list—called List N—by clicking here.

    2. Why doesn’t Betco have any products on List N?

    As stated in List N’s introductory text, "these products may be marketed and sold under different brand names, but if they have the same EPA registration number, they are the same product. " These are known as supplemental, secondary, or sub-registrations.

    Currently, Betco® has 10 such products. We have isolated them for your reading convenience in a Betco-only version, which you can download by clicking here.

    All disinfectant product labels must include the EPA registration number. For secondary registrations, a company EPA ID follows the registration number, which is why Betco's ID—4170—appears after the EPA registration number on our labels.

    3. How does the EPA know these products work against SARS-CoV-2? 

    Because SARS-CoV-2 is such a new virus, it is not available commercially for laboratory testing. The EPA expects these disinfectants to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on:

    • Demonstrated efficacy against a harder-to-kill virus
    • Demonstrated efficacy against another human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2
    • Qualification for the emerging viral pathogens claim

    4. What is an emerging viral pathogen claim?

    The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases defines emerging infectious diseases/pathogens as those “that have newly appeared in a population or have existed but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range.” Many of the emerging pathogens of greatest concern are pathogenic viruses, and the ability of some of these viruses to persist on environmental surfaces can play a role in human disease transmission. SARS-CoV-2 is such a pathogenic virus.

    Because the occurrence of emerging viral pathogens is less common and predictable than established pathogens, few if any EPA-registered disinfectant product labels specify use against this category of infectious agents. Therefore, in 2016, EPA provided a voluntary, two-stage process to enable use of certain EPA-registered disinfectant products against emerging viral pathogens not identified on the product label.

    A company can apply for an emerging viral pathogen claim, even before an outbreak occurs, based on previous EPA-approved claims for harder-to-kill viruses.

    The emerging viral pathogen guidance was triggered for SARS-CoV-2 on Jan. 29, 2020. EPA reviews the supporting information and determines if the claim is acceptable. Once approved, a company can make certain off-label claims as specified in the policy in the event of an outbreak such as SARS-CoV-2. For instance, the company can include an efficacy statement on:

    • Technical literature distributed to health care facilities, physicians, nurses, and public health officials
    • Non-label-related websites
    • Consumer information services
    • Social media sites

    5. Why are there no skin care products on list N? / Can skin care products make COVID-19 claims? 

    List N only includes EPA-registered surface disinfectants. Hand sanitizers, antiseptic washes, and antibacterial soaps are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). EPA-registered surface disinfectants, including surface wipes, SHOULD NOT be applied on your skin or ingested.

    Only products approved as pharmaceutical drugs can legally make COVID-19 claims, not over-the-counter topical anesthetics, which skin care products are considered. The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. It does not differentiate between different types of soaps (antibacterial or plain soap). When soap and water is unavailable use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    6. What is the difference between disinfectants, sanitizers, and cleaners?

    Cleaners use soap or detergents to physically remove dirt, dust, other soils. While cleaners do not kill germs, they do remove them. Cleaners are not regulated or tested by the EPA.

    Sanitizers reduce bacteria on a surface by at least 99.9%, while disinfectants kill bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew, and fungi. Both sanitizers and disinfectants are regulated and tested by the EPA and must be proven efficacious for specific germs.

    7. How do I use disinfectants against coronavirus?

    The CDC recommends pre-cleaning surfaces before using a disinfectant.

    All disinfectant label instructions should be followed carefully, especially with regard to:

    • Dwell time, or amount of time that the surface must stay wet to ensure that germs are killed
    • Concentration, as some products may need to be diluted before use
    • Application method, including whether to use a sponge, paper towel, microfiber cloth, etc.
    • Personal protective equipment and other safety considerations
    • Suitability for use on different types of surfaces (see question #9 below)

    8. Can I use disinfectants in an electrostatic sprayer, fogger, or mister?

    In order for a disinfectant to remain effective, it has to be applied as a wet spray. Most disinfectants recommend a coarse wet spray. This can be achieved by use of a spray bottle, pump up sprayer, or an electrostatic sprayer. The key is that the particle size of the droplets has to be greater than 80 microns, and most electrostatic sprayers are 80–150 microns. Check the specific disinfectant label for further instructions on use in these machines.

    Foggers/misters create a thick fog or—in the case of thermal (heat) foggers—steam and use very little product. This is an insufficient delivery system for disinfectants.

    9. What surfaces should I disinfect?

    All reachable hard, non-porous surfaces can be disinfected, but high-touch surfaces should be paid special attention. These include but are not limited to tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

    The World Health Organization says studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 may last for a few hours or several days on surfaces, depending on the kind of surface, temperature, and humidity. Under the conditions in at least 1 experiment, the virus remained active on plastic and stainless steel for 2–3 days.

    Not all disinfectants are appropriate for use on medical devices or food-contact surfaces. Disinfectants that are suitable for use on these surfaces may, furthermore, require additional actions, such as rinsing after disinfection. This information will be located on the product label.

    10. What about soft or porous surfaces, like carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes?

    No disinfectant can claim to disinfect soft surfaces. You may, however, sanitize with an EPA-registered soft surface sanitizer, such as Betco’s Triforce Disinfectant and Soft Surface Sanitizer, according to label directions.

    You may also clean soft surfaces with soap and water or a suitable cleaner, then launder if possible (see question #11 below).

    According to Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious-diseases physician, “In general coronaviruses last a lot longer on hard non-porous surfaces compared to porous surfaces.”

    11. How should I do laundry with regard to SARS-CoV-2?

    Clothing, towels, linens, and similar articles should be laundered using manufacturer’s directions in the warmest suitable water and be completely dry before use. Items used by an infected person can be washed with other items.

    Dirty laundry should not be shaken to avoid releasing the virus into the air and should only be handled when wearing disposable gloves. Wash hands with soap and water immediately after removing the gloves.

    Remember to pre-clean and disinfect hampers according to label instructions.

    12. How should I disinfect electronics?

    First, always check with the manufacturer of the electronics to see if there are any explicit requirements or specifications. To apply disinfectant to most electronics, spray the disinfectant onto a microfiber cloth or towel, do not oversaturate the fabric, then wipe the surface and allow to air dry.  Never spray directly on electronics.

    13. What precautions should I take when cleaning/disinfecting?

    If someone in a facility is sick, all areas they have used should be closed off, with any outside doors and windows opened to increase air circulation. Wait 24 hours or as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting all areas and surfaces used by the sick person.

    Whether a sick person has used an area or not, always wear disposable gloves and gowns for the entire cleaning and disinfecting process, including handling trash. After you carefully remove these items, immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If hands are not visibly dirty and soap and water are unavailable, you may use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    Additional personal protective equipment (PPE), such as safety glasses, might be need based on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash. Always consult product labels and ensure proper ventilation of the area.

    Never mix bleach with any other chemicals.

    Our new Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program provides the framework, tools, techniques, procedures, safety guidelines, and support materials for facilities of all types to develop and execute a comprehensive cleaning and disinfection work plan, allowing them to confidently reopen while keeping all who enter safe.  It combines evidence-based infection control strategies supported by agencies such as the CDC, EPA, and FDA with tactics to put the minds of facility occupants at ease in just 5 steps. Click here to learn more. 

    Click here to visit our dedicated SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 web page, which also has crucial information and resources.

     

  • 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China

    Jan 21, 2020

    outbreak-coronavirus-china-2019

    This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Worldwide, there have been hundreds of confirmed human infections—including in the U.S.—and several deaths reported. For the most up-to-date statistics, please consult the CDC's website . A number of countries, such as the U.S., are actively screening incoming travelers from the Far East.

    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals—including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people, such as has been seen with  MERS  and  SARS . Past MERS and SARS outbreaks have been complex, requiring comprehensive public health responses.

    There is much more to learn about how the virus (2019-nCoV) spreads, severity of associated illness, and other features of the virus. Investigations are ongoing. Based on current information, however, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is deemed to be low at this time. Nevertheless, the CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.

    The following information is for Common Human Coronaviruses:

    Symptoms of human coronavirus may include:

    • Runny nose
    • Headache
    • Cough
    • Sore threat
    • Fever

    The transmission method when spread from an infected person to others:

    • The air by coughing or sneezing
    • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
    • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
    • Rarely, fecal contamination

    Usually infections occur in the fall and winter, although there is a possibility of infection throughout the year.

    Best prevention measures include:

    • Staying home when sick
    • Avoiding close contact with others
    • Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces
    • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, discarding the tissue, and washing your hands with soap and water—or, when soap and water are unavailable, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol as recommended by the CDC.

    Betco® Advanced Alcohol Hand Sanitizer is a new formula that contains 70% alcohol. Though tough on germs, this sanitizer is gentle on hands, thanks to added aloe that moisturizes and conditions:

     

    The following Betco® disinfectants have proven efficacy against the human coronavirus (10-minute kill claim unless otherwise noted):

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronavirus. Rest, drink plenty of liquids, and take fever medications. If symptoms persist, you should see your healthcare provider.

    Visit the CDC's website for more information.

     

  • This Year's Flu Disproportionately Affecting Children

    Jan 17, 2020

    flu stats
    (click to enlarge)

    For handwashing to be maximally effective against the flu virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend following this process:

    1. Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to clean all surfaces on your hands (backs of your hands, between your fingers, under your nails, etc.).
    3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

    During scrubbing, the World Health Organization has outlined the following steps:

    1. Rub your hands together, palm to palm.
    2. Rub the back of each hand with the palm of the opposite hand with fingers interlaced.
    3. Again, rub palm to palm, but this time with fingers interlaced.
    4. Rub the backs of your fingers using opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
    5. Rub around each thumb with the palm of the opposing palm.
    6. Finally rub the palm of each hand with fingers of the opposing hand.

    By using this model for hand hygiene, you can protect yourself and others—especially children—from the spread of germs.

    To view Betco’s comprehensive line of flu-fighting hand soaps, please click here.

  • How to Slow the Spread of Infection: An Infographic

    Dec 02, 2019

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    blog body

  • Why Are Disinfectants and Sanitizers Classified as Pesticides?

    Aug 19, 2019

    Pesticide-label

    The word “pesticide” appears on all of Betco’s disinfectant and sanitizer product labels and safety data sheets. 

    You may have noticed this language on safety data sheets:

    EPA Statement:
    This chemical is a pesticide product registered by the Environmental Protection Agency and is subject to certain labeling requirements under federal pesticide law. These requirements differ from the classification criterial and hazard information required for safety data sheets, and for workplace labels of nonpesticide chemicals. Below is the signal word as required on the pesticide label:

    Or you may have noticed directions for “Pesticide Storage” and “Pesticide Disposal” on product labels (click image below to enlarge).

    pesticide label

    So why are disinfectants and sanitizers listed as pesticides?  People often use the term "pesticide" to refer only to insecticides, but it actually applies to all the substances used to control pests.  Disinfectants and sanitizers—as well as insecticides, herbicides, swimming pool treatments, and even leaf defoliants—are managed by EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.  Disinfectants and sanitizers kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi.  According to the EPA these are considered pests just as insects, weeds, snails, and slugs are considered pests.  Therefore, the EPA classifies disinfectants and sanitizers as pesticides.

    In addition, the EPA further classifies disinfectants as antimicrobial pesticides: “Intended to disinfect, sanitize, reduce or mitigate growth or development of microbiological organisms or protect inanimate objects, industrial processes or systems, surfaces, water or other chemical substances from contamination, fouling or deterioration caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, algae, or slime.”

    For more detailed information from the EPA, please click here or here.

    So, the term “pesticides” covers a large range of products, from your well-known insecticides and herbicides to less well-known disinfectants and sanitizers, and the inclusion of this term on product literature, including labels and safety data sheets, should not be considered cause for concern. Whether from Betco or a different chemical manufacturer, all disinfectants and sanitizers in the United States must be labeled as pesticides.

    All of Betco’s safety data sheets are up-to-date and available online. Simply click the “SDS” tab in the red navigation bar at the top of our website to access Safety Data Sheets for all products, or check the “SDS and Resources” section of each product page.

  • Measles: What You Need to Know

    May 08, 2019

    Measles

    Incidents of measles have greatly increased in 2019. In fact, according to the CDC, 22 states have reported measles cases. 5 states have measles outbreaks (defined as 3 or more cases). An extensive handwashing program and good disinfection program is the best way to stop the spread of any disease, including measles.  

    Also, educating your staff about the disease is very important. Knowledge is power! Below is a list of frequently asked questions so you can better understand measles and take measures to keep everyone healthy.

    What are measles? Measles is caused by a single-stranded enveloped virus. Humans are the only natural hosts of the measles virus.

    What illness does the measles virus cause? Measles is an acute viral respiratory illness. It causes a high fever (up to 105° F), cough, nasal congestion, and conjunctivitis (inflammation of transparent covering of the eye), followed by a rash that appears as a flat, red area with small bumps. The rash usually appears 14 days after a person is exposed and can spread all over the body. Patients are considered to be contagious from 4 days before to 4 days after the rash appears. Some high-risk patients do not develop the rash.

    How does measles spread? Measles is one of the most contagious of all infectious diseases. Up to 9 out of 10 susceptible persons with close contact to a measles patient will develop measles. The virus is spread by direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. Measles virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours after the infected person leaves the area.

    Who is at high risk for contracting measles? Anyone born after 1957 who has not been vaccinated is at a high risk for contracting measles. Infants and children younger than 5 years old, adults over the age of 20, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are at a high risk for having complications from measles.

    What are common complications from measles? Pneumonia, bronchitis, and diarrhea are common complications.

    • One out of every 1,000 measles cases will develop acute encephalitis, often resulting in permanent brain damage.
    • One or two out of every 1,000 children who become infected with measles will die from respiratory or neurological complications.

    How can I prevent getting the measles? There is only one sure way to prevent contracting measles, and that is through vaccination. The vaccine is usually given as a combination MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps and Rubella). The MMRV vaccine can be used for children aged 12 months through 12 years for protection against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chicken pox). One dose of MMR vaccine is approximately 93% effective at preventing measles. Two doses are approximately 97% effective.

    What can I do if there has been a confirmed or suspected case of measles in my facility? Whoever has a confirmed or suspected case of measles should stay home for four days after developing the rash. Ask your doctor when it is safe to be around other people again.

    Good practices to stop the spread of any disease:

    • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and put used tissues in the trashcan. If you do not have a tissue, cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
    • Avoid sharing drinks or food utensils.
    • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables, and counters. Standard disinfectants will readily kill the measles virus.

    Why have we seen such an increase in measles? I thought the disease was eradicated in the US? Measles is still common in many parts of the world, including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the US. Measles spread when these travelers visit US communities with pockets of unvaccinated people. As of April 26th, 22 states have reported measles cases.

    Betco has a complete line of skin care products and programs to encourage frequent handwashing and also has numerous disinfectants that help reduce disease transmission.

  • Teach Germs a Lesson: Hand Washing to Fight Back-to-School Germs and Viruses

    Aug 15, 2018

    Hand-Washing-Blog

    It’s that time of year when school bells ring, classrooms are filled and children are back to school. But, students and staff aren’t the only things that fill the halls …

    One of the most common interruptions during back-to-school season are germs and viruses. In fact, 80% of all infections spread from hand-to-hand contact. It’s no wonder why over 22 million school days are lost each year due to the common cold.

    This back-to-school season, protecting students and staff from sickly germs and viruses can be done with one simple solution – hand washing. 

    Many diseases and conditions are spread by improper hand washing. Germs and viruses from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects like door handles, table tops or toys and then transferred to another person’s hands. One of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs and viruses to others is by keeping hands clean.

    Implementing a hand hygiene program at schools is a must and it’s a fact that good habits start when we are young. Learning the proper technique for hand washing proves to be valuable for a lifetime of healthy hand hygiene practices. When implementing a hand hygiene program, a school is committed to a healthy atmosphere for children, staff and families. Not to mention, hand washing with soap could protect approximately 1 in 3 children who get sick, improving attendance and increasing dollars for the school.

    Hand-Washing-Blog-2

    Here are some quick tips to teach germs and viruses a lesson:

    • Wash hands frequently – make sure hands are washed before eating, after using the restroom, after coughing or sneezing and after recess.
    • Follow the CDC model for hand washing – wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and clean water.
    • Place hand sanitizer outside the restroom door for use after leaving the restroom.
    • Don’t spread germs to others – stay at home when you are sick.

    No touch is germ-free, but when it comes to keeping students and staff healthy throughout the school year, prevention by hand washing protects them from the spread of germs and viruses.

    Want to reduce absenteeism at your school? Implement the Compass® Program from Betco®. Compass is the only Active Learning™ Hand Washing System that follows the CDC guidelines. Click here to learn more.

  • Poor Handwashing Leads to Cross-Contamination

    Jul 06, 2018

    Handwashing-Wrong

    People are spreading dangerous bacteria around and don’t even realize it. The cause – improper handwashing.

    A recent study from the US Department of Agriculture shows that 97% of people who wash their hands are doing it wrong. This may seem strange as popular belief tells us that as long as you wash your hands, you’re germ-free. 

    Handwashing may seem like a simple task – however, most people don’t wash their hands according to the recommended Centers for Disease Control model (the one that’s actually proven to prevent germ spread and cross-contamination).

    A separate study done in 2013 by Michigan State University found that only 5% of people washed their hands according to the CDC model. This lack of proper handwashing contributes to the CDC’s staggering numbers like:

    • 48 million Americans are sickened by foodborne illnesses each year
    • 90,000 people die from Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) each year
    • Over 22 million school days are lost due to the common cold each year

    Handwashing

    How do we break our poor handwashing habits and change our handwashing behavior? By following the CDC model – it only takes 20 seconds.

    Here’s a simple break-down you can follow to make sure you are doing a good job when washing your hands:

    Step 1: Wet your hands with clean, running water.

    Step 2: Turn off the water and apply enough soap to cover your hands.

    Step 3: Scrub, scrub, scrub! Make sure you get the backs of your hands, under your nails and in-between your fingers.

    Step 4: Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

    Step 5: Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

    Step 6: Dry your hands with a clean, single-use towel or air dry them.

    Pro-tip: Want to take extra precautions? Place hand sanitizer outside the restroom door and use it after you leave the restroom.

    Think about it – no touch is germ-free. When we wash our hands correctly, we prevent the spread of germs and viruses to others.

    Want to teach people in your facility how to wash their hands the right way? Implement the Compass® Hand Hygiene Program from Betco® today! Click here to learn more.

  • 2017-18 Flu Season Recap: Wash Your Hands

    May 23, 2018

    Handwashing

    The Centers for Disease Control reports that the 2017–18 flu season had the highest rate of flu-related hospitalizations on record since this type of surveillance began. The FluView report includes preliminary cumulative rates as of May 12, 2018. According to the Health and Human Services department, annual hospitalizations from influenza have ranged from 140,000 to 710,000 since 2010 and there is an average of 24,000 deaths per year.

    As the peak of flu season ends, it’s important to remember one of the best defenses for stopping the spread of germs: hand hygiene.

    Handwashing

    With 80% of germs transmitted by hand-to-hand contact, keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. This flu season the highest rate of infection was among older adults aged 65 years and older, followed by adults between the ages of 50-65. As the baby-boomer population ages and requires more care, the impact of hand hygiene in nursing homes is extremely important for infection control, and it starts with following the model for proper hand hygiene.

    The Science behind Handwashing

    The Centers for Disease Control recommends a six step process for washing hands. It only takes 20 seconds and is one of the best proactive methods to disinfecting your hands to stop the spread of germs.

    • Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to clean all surfaces on your hands (backs of your hands, between your fingers, under your nails, etc).
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

    This model for proper hand washing has been proven to remove the tiny microbes, germs and bacteria that may inhabit your hands throughout the day. By staying compliant with this model for hand hygiene, you can protect yourself and others from the spread of germs.

    Want to increase hand hygiene compliance in your workplace? Implement the Compass Program from Betco®. Compass is the only program that guides users to proper hand hygiene as recommended by the CDC. Click here to learn more.

  • Nature's Little Cleaners

    Apr 20, 2018

    Bio-Bugs

    What if nature could be used to clean? It can, and it does!

    The idea is simple really, which is why it’s effective. It starts with non-pathogenic microbes, or non-harmful bacteria, which are living organisms that don’t cause disease. These microbes create enzymes that digest elements like fats, oils and grease. They eat the very things we want to clean up! It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship that can save time and money.  

    Similar to the human digestive system, the process is three-fold:

    BioActive Solutions Process

    The main advantage microbes offer is in achieving a continuous clean: they work long after their application, and they won’t stop working until the substance — their food — is gone. Using it at the close of the business day or when foot traffic is the lightest lets them go to work. Plus, because they’re stable and biodegradable, they’re sustainable. Using them is quite simply the most environmentally friendly way to clean.

    If the initial thought of using bacteria to clean doesn’t sit well, think of all the everyday ways we already use enzymes. For example, we eat them in yogurt and we use them to make cheese.

    At Betco®, our BioActive Solutions™ product line is formulated for specific applications to provide the right bacteria for the job. In addition to fats, oils and greases, they can clean sugar starches, urine, organic waste, hydrocarbons, industrial waste and malodors (very bad smells).

    To learn more about how BioActive Solutions works, click here.

  • The #1 Way to Stop Spreading Germs

    Mar 29, 2018

    Handwashing

    Are you one of those people that doesn’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom?

    Or you think a quick rinse with water is enough.

    Or a spritz of hand sanitizer will do the trick.

    We have some news that you may find surprising… 

    Want to know that #1 way to stop spreading germs? It’s quite simple: wash your hands!

    Think about it – no touch is germ-free. That means every time you touch your eyes, mouth, face and even your food, you’re putting germs into your body.

    Healthcare-HandsThis can be a big problem, especially since Norovirus is responsible for roughly 1 in 5 cases worldwide of acute gastroenteritis and the flu was 3x as widespread this year than last year. It’s even more of a problem in health care facilities. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that medical staff only wash their hands about half the time. The CDC states: "This contributes to the spread of healthcare-associated infections that affect 1 in 25 hospital patients on any given day."

    One survey found that only 5% of its subjects washed their hands for 15 seconds or more – the CDC says to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

    Handwashing-FingersProper hand hygiene is important to stop the spread of germs. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure you are doing a good job when washing your hands:

    • Use soap and water – apply enough soap to cover your hands.
    • Scrub, scrub, scrub! Make sure you get the backs of your hands, under your nails and in-between your fingers.
    • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    • Rinse your hands off and dry them thoroughly with a single use towel.
    • Pro tip: Want to take extra precautions? Place hand sanitizer outside the restroom door and use it after you leave the restroom.

    Want to increase compliance in your facility and help people become handwashing gurus? Implement the Compass® Hand Hygiene Program from Betco® today! Click here to learn more.

  • Clean Hands Save Lives: Impact of Hand Hygiene in Nursing Homes

    Mar 02, 2018

    Clean Hands Save Lives-

    As the baby-boomer population ages and requires more care, it’s important that infection control practices in nursing homes keep up with the influx of patients, especially since 80% of all infections are transmitted by hands. Infections are very common in long-term care facilities and represent a major cause of morbidity and mortality among institutionalized elderly individuals

    Clean Hands Save LivesA recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control evaluated the impact of a multifaceted hand hygiene program in nursing homes. The intervention group used hand hygiene-related measures, including increased access to hand sanitizer through pocket-sized containers and new dispensers, plus more informational displays. The researchers assessed hand-hygiene practices by measuring hand sanitizer consumption and evaluating the incidence rate of acute respiratory infections and acute gastroenteritis.

    Here are the findings of the study:
    • The intervention group used more hand sanitizer over the one-year study period
    • The intervention group experienced significantly lower mortality rates — 2.10 per 100 residents per month as compared to 2.65 per 100 residents per month in the control group
    • The intervention group also experienced lower antibiotic prescriptions at 5 defined daily doses per 100 resident days versus the control group's 5.8 defined daily doses per 100 resident days
    • Hospitalizations did not differ between the two groups
    What does this mean?

    Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. When a facility implements a successful hand hygiene program, it creates a continuous reinforcement and training platform that guides user to proper hand hygiene, reducing the spread of germs.

    To learn more about proper hand hygiene, click here. To implement an effective hand hygiene program like Compass® by Betco®, the only dispensing system that guides you to proper hand hygiene, click here.

  • Don’t be a Statistic this Flu Season: Widespread Flu Activity Hits U.S.

    Jan 08, 2018

    The cold and flu season is upon us and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has issued a nationwide warning for an illness that potentially affects us all: influenza.

    Experts forecasted the 2017-18 flu season to resurge with a sickly force all across the U.S. and now their predictions are coming true.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, during week 52 (December 24-30, 2017), influenza activity increased sharply in the United States. The geographic spread of influenza in 46 states was reported as widespread.

    ILI_WeeklyMap300

    Flu season runs from October 2017 to May 2018 with a peak period being December through March. With the flu hitting North America a little earlier this year, officials are saying that this year’s flu season is off to a potentially dangerous start.

    According to the Health and Human Services department, annual hospitalizations from influenza have ranged from 140,000 to 710,000 since 2010 and there is an average of 24,000 deaths per year. Given the forecasts and current FluView report from the CDC, it’s important to get ahead of the flu and prepare using one of the best defenses: hand hygiene.

    With 80% of germs transmitted by hand-to-hand contact, keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The Center for Disease Control recommends a six step process for washing hands. It only takes 20 seconds and is one of the best proactive methods to disinfecting your hands this flu season.

    To learn more about hand hygiene or to implement a hand hygiene program like Compass™, the only dispensing system that will guide you to proper hand hygiene at any facility, visit www.betco.com today or call 1-888-GO-BETCO.

  • Tips for Cleaning and Disinfection in Hotels

    Sep 21, 2017

    During winter the general public spends more time indoors due to colder temperatures and inclement weather. Places like airports, hotels and public transportation can become a breeding ground for illness-causing germs due to the increased number of people spending more time there. Hotel staff should take note of this increase in the spread of germs during cold and flu season and have a strong cleaning and disinfectant program to prevent guests and staff from becoming ill.

    Germs can be lurking anywhere—even in 4 or 5-star hotels. A recent study by Travel Math found that the most significant spots for germs were high touchpoint areas like bathroom counters (1,011,670 colony-forming units in 5 star hotels) and TV remote controllers (2,002,300 colony-forming units in 5-star hotels).

    Many hotels have their own differing cleaning programs, but it is crucial to include touchpoint disinfection as a routine part of this program. Common touchpoint areas include phones, TV remotes, bathroom fixtures and soft surfaces like furniture and bedding. Paying close attention to these areas will help prevent the spread of illness-causing germs.

    Disinfect High-Touch Areas

    Surfaces that are touched frequently by guests such as light switches, doorknobs, phones, remotes and bathroom fixtures should be disinfected at least one time every day. Influenza and staphylococcus germs can survive on surfaces for hours, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for guests and staff to contract an illness from these surfaces. It is important to use products that are EPA-registered to kill germs.

    Eliminate Odors at the Source

    When guests walk into a hotel room that carries strong or even faint odors, they appear to be unclean. Some odors are hard to get rid of like urine or smoke. Hotel cleaning managers can empower their staff to remove these odors by choosing an aerosol product with active ingredients to remove the odors directly from the air by eliminating the odor-causing molecule. In bathrooms, odors can be especially persistent on porous and damp surfaces like tile grout which can trap bacteria that feeds on urine. In humid or wet conditions, the odor can also be reactivated. Using a ready-to-use hydrogen-based cleaner is the best choice for removing stains and breaking down the odor-causing uric acid. Ready-to-use formulas don’t require dilution, making them quick and easy to use.

    Soft Surface Odors

    Hotels change and launder sheets and linens after each guest, but other soft surfaces like curtains, carpet and upholstered furniture can hold odors. In-between launderings, refresh and sanitize these surfaces by using a one-step, multi-use product.

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