BG-Bldg-Masthead_1920x440_template
Blog
Hand Hygiene

Home > Resources > Blog > Hand Hygiene

  • 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.

  • 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:

    • Advanced Alcohol Foaming Sanitizer

    4 - 1 Gal. Bottles Item #79504-00
    6 - 1000 mL Clario Bags Item #79529-00
    24 - 50 mL Foaming Item #79553-00
    6 - 550 mL Foaming Pump Bottles Item #79557-00
    4 – 750 mL Compass Bottles Item #795C3-00
    2 – 1250 mL Compass Bottles Item #795C5-00

    • Advanced Alcohol Gel Sanitizer

    12 - 900 mL BIB Item #79619-00
    6 - 1000 mL Clario Bags Item #79629-00
    6 - 550 mL Foaming Pump Bottles Item #79657-00

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

    • Symplicity™ Sanibet™ Multi-Range Sanitizer (at Hospital Disinfectant dilution)

    4 - 1 Gal. Bottles Item #23704-00
    5 Gal. Pail Item #23705-00
    2.5 Gal. BIB Item #23725-00
    4 - 2 L Fast Draw Item #23747-00
    55 Gal. Drum Item #23755-00
    2 - 2 L Fast Draw Item #237B2-00

    • Betco® Pine Quat Cleaner, Disinfectant, and Deodorant

    4 - 1 Gal. Bottles Item #30404-00
    5 Gal. Pail Item #30405-00
    55 Gal. Drum Item #30455-00

    • Fight-Bac® RTU Broad Spectrum Disinfectant Cleaner (2 minutes)

    12 - 32 oz. Bottles Item #31112-00
    55 Gal. Drum Item #31155-00

    • pH7Q Neutral pH Disinfectant, Detergent, and Deodorant (1 minute)

    4 - 1 Gal. Bottles Item #31604-00
    5 Gal. Pail Item #31605-00
    55 Gal. Drum Item #31655-00

    • Triforce Disinfectant (3 minutes)

    4 - 1 Gal. Bottles Item #33304-00
    4 - 2 L Fast Draw Item #33347-00

    • Quat-Stat™ 5 Alkaline Disinfectant (5 minutes)

    4 - 1 Gal. Bottles Item #34104-00
    4 - 2 L Fast Draw Item #34147-00
    6 - 32 oz. Dosing Bottles Item #34148-00
    55 Gal. Drum Item #34155-00

    • pH7Q Dual Concentrated Neutral Disinfectant Cleaner

    4 - 1 Gal. Bottles Item #35504-00
    4 - 2 L Fast Draw Item #35547-00
    55 Gal. Drum Item #35555-00

    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.

  • 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.

  • Hand Hygiene Products and Preservatives

    May 02, 2019

    soapy hands

    Many cosmetic products, a category that includes hand hygiene products, are close to a neutral pH and contain a considerable amount of water. Under these conditions, any environmental contamination could cause rapid bacterial growth and spoil the product.

    Proliferation of bacteria is particularly problematic with regard to regular and antibacterial hand soaps and cleansers, as bacteria can overwhelm any active ingredients and render the product ineffective, ultimately leading to increased spread of potentially harmful germs.

    In order to inhibit undesirable bacterial growth, preservatives are commonly used in hand hygiene and other cosmetic products. To properly defend products against contamination, it is important that manufacturers use a preservative package that is effective against a variety of bacteria, yeasts, and molds. One of the most common preservative packages is MCI/MI: a combination of methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone. The MCI component provides quick initial protection from contamination, while the MI component holds off bacteria in the long term. 

    Although preservatives like MCI/MI often get a bad reputation, these and all other ingredients in cosmetic products such as soaps and cleansers are regulated by the FDA to ensure the safety of consumers. It is true that MCI/MI has been associated with skin irritation, but those associations were largely formed in previous decades with relation to leave-on products and when MCI/MI was used at higher concentrations. Now primarily used in rinse-off products and at much lower concentrations, rates of contact allergy or irritation from MCI/MI in rinse-off products are extremely low. Indeed, MCI/MI has been repeatedly proven safe for use in rinse-off cosmetic products at concentrations up to 15 ppm.

    Beyond the FDA, MCI/MI has been ruled safe for use in rinse-off products at appropriate concentrations by other organizations, such as the Cosmetic Ingredient Review and the European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. Neither MCI nor MI have been listed by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a known, probable, or possible human carcinogen.

    MCI/MI is an effective preservative package that plays a crucial role in maintaining the efficacy of cosmetic products, including hand hygiene products. When products that contain preservatives are manufactured as stipulated by regulatory agencies and used as directed by consumers, the preservatives therein are not only safe, but are furthermore necessary to safeguard the health of consumers. Betco is committed to using preservatives to maintain hand hygiene products that are both safe and effective for the end user. 

  • 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.

  • MYTH: Polished Concrete is a NO Maintenance Floor

    Mar 16, 2018

    Polished Concrete

    Corporations, retailers, school districts, healthcare facilities, architects and facility managers are all looking at ways to lower costs to their operation. Many facilities have transitioned away from legacy flooring types and have chosen polished concrete. The perception is that although polished concrete restoration may be costly up front, the long-term maintenance costs will be reduced in comparison to other flooring options. This may be true, but often the performance benefits are oversold and facility managers fail to recognize the unique challenges with maintaining these surfaces. 

    Life Cycle Cost for Floor Finishes
    *Michael Doyle Partners, Flooring Comparison Report 2017 pp 12
    Flooring-Comparison-2017

    Etched-ConcreteFact:  All flooring options require some element of maintenance.

    • Abrasion – the finish on a grand piano may be flawless for years, but you don’t walk on pianos. Gloss reduction occurs over time as floors experience wear. This abrasion occurs from dirt and foot traffic, creating microscopic scratches.
    • Dirt Embedment – Our shoes track dirt into facilities from the outside world. Porous materials are receptors for this dirt which becomes ground into the floor over time.
    • Staining – Accidents happen. Custodians desire an easy, low-cost method to repair these stains.

     


    Worn-ConcreteWhat Are Some Polished Concrete Maintenance Challenges
    ?

    • Porosity – As concrete cures the evaporating water creates pores. Some of these openings are sealed by polishing but it’s nearly impossible to create a non-permeable surface. Have you noticed how wet concrete becomes darker? This is from water absorbing into the concrete pores. This porosity creates a challenge for dirt and stains.
    • Stains – Also referred to as etching. You may be familiar with the splatter stain in your neighborhood grocery store pickle aisle. This is because concrete is etched when an acidic liquid is left to penetrate into the concrete pores.
    • Reparability – Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) is very easy to maintain. Depending on the blemish, the spot can be scrubbed or stripped and recoated and burnished back to an even appearance.
    • Upkeep – Many concrete polishing systems finish with a coating called a “guard”. These guards are usually topical coatings that help resist staining and emit gloss. Often guards are used to reduce labor from truly polishing the concrete to a high gloss appearance. The challenge with guards is that they are sacrificial coatings that need to be maintained through recoating and burnishing. Guards also exhibit characteristics similar to coatings used for VCT. Therefore, facilities find themselves facing the same challenges that they faced with VCT, but now with a flooring type that they are less experienced at maintaining.

     

    To learn more about polished concrete, click here. The Crete Rx System from Betco® uniquely addresses all of the challenges mentioned in this article.

  • 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.

  • Triclo---what? What the Triclosan Ban Means for You

    Sep 21, 2017

    Bubbles-RSS

    On September 2, 2016 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final ruling that bans 19 active ingredients in hand or body washes. One of the active ingredients affected by this ruling is triclosan, the most widely-used active ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) consumer antiseptic washes.

    So, what does this ruling mean for you? Since this ban affects soaps that you may use at home, in school and other public settings, it’s important to understand what triclosan is and why this ruling took place.

    What is triclosan?

    Triclosan is an ingredient added to many consumer products like antibacterial soaps, body washes, toothpastes and some cosmetics in order to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination.

    Is triclosan safe?

    Unfortunately, how triclosan affects human health is not yet known. While there are several ongoing studies that involve the safety of triclosan, there is not enough scientific data to make any claims at this time.

    How do I know if triclosan is in a product?

    If a soap, body wash or any other product contains triclosan, it should be listed as an ingredient on the label. If you have any questions or concerns about a product you use, call the number listed on the product.

    Foam-Soaps-Save-Water-small

    What other chemicals were banned?

    In addition to the triclosan ruling, these other chemicals we also banned:

    • Cloflucarban
    • Fluorosalan
    • Hexachlorophene
    • Hexylresorcinol
    • Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
    • Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
    • Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
    • Poloxamer-iodine complex
    • Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
    • Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
    • Methylbenzethonium chloride
    • Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
    • Phenol (less than 1.5 percent) 16
    • Secondary amyltricresols
    • Sodium oxychlorosene
    • Tribromsalan
    • Triclocarban
    • Triple dye

     

    This rule goes into effect on September 6, 2017 giving companies a year to remove these ingredients from their products or discontinue the product line within the market. Some states are adopting this ruling early, such as Minnesota that put the ban into effect on January 1, 2017.

    This ruling does not affect antibacterial soaps used by healthcare professionals, food industry professionals or consumer antiseptic rubs (i.e. hand sanitizers).

    As a part of our innovative hand hygiene platforms, all Betco® skin care solutions comply with this new rule and are triclosan-free.

    If you have any questions or want to learn more, please click here.

    If you have any questions, please visit www.betco.com, call (888) GO-BETCO or please contact us at welisten@betco.com.

  • Get with the Program: Go Green

    Sep 21, 2017

    Plant-Blog-RSS

    The move toward green cleaning is the next step towards further reducing the impact left on the environment. We can always continue to maintain and improve the health, comfort and aesthetics of our surroundings. We know that green cleaning creates healthier environments, but what does it truly mean to go green?

    Sustainable solutions minimize the impact of cleaning on people and the environment. More importantly, it is a process to protect natural resources for the future – not a single product alone. This means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

    Going Green is a journey that anyone can participate in. By being environmentally responsible, we can become more knowledgeable about the ingredients we are putting into products, leading to a healthier home and a healthier you. Wondering how you can help? Try these tips to get started:

    Save energy: Finished using something? Make sure you shut it off. You can easily conserve energy by turning off the lights or unplugging smaller appliances as soon as you’re done with them.

    Save water: No one likes a dripping faucet…especially the environment. From brushing your teeth to watering your garden, it’s important to be conscious of how much water you are using and how you can better conserve it.

    Reduce, reuse, recycle: These three R’s are the perfect triple threat. By helping to reduce waste, we can conserve natural resources and energy. When we reuse and recycle, we can avoid creating waste, reducing the amount of trash going to our landfills and keeping the environment healthier.

    It’s important to remember that every little bit helps when it comes to conserving natural resources within our environment. You can start out small and still make a positive impact. By focusing on maintaining the balance between people, profit and planet, we can protect our environment now and in the future.

    At Betco®, being environmentally responsible is a company standard. We are committed to developing products, programs and procedures that meet or exceed health and environmental standards while providing cost effective benefits to accomplish your maintenance goals. To learn more about our sustainability efforts and complete green program, please visit www.betco.com/solutions/sustainability for more information.

  • Creating a Facility Maintenance Program

    Sep 21, 2017

    Man Writing

    Developing a comprehensive approach to facility maintenance is not always an easy task to accomplish. While there are many best practices for creating a facility maintenance program, the path to finding and implementing a plan that meets the specific needs of your facility can be challenging. With efficiency as a common end goal, facilities are searching for ways to optimize opportunities without increasing costs. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you develop a maintenance plan that fits your facility.

    Dos:

    • Expect to Inspect. There is always room for improvement. Pay attention to the areas in which your facility maintenance program could become better. By determining what changes need to be made, you could increase efficiency and reduce expenses.
    • Calculate Costs. Assess the specific needs in your facility and develop a plan to convert to more innovative, cost effective solutions. When evaluating your current expenses and researching other options, you’ll feel more empowered to make a decision in your maintenance program and potentially get more bang for your buck.
    • Outline Opportunities. Building an effective facility maintenance program requires weighing the pros and cons. Presenting various options and showcasing the advantages of a proposed program will help you establish a customized plan for your facility.

    Don’ts

    • Rely on the Bare Minimum. You shouldn’t have to settle when it comes to the cleanliness of your facility. While your current maintenance program may be sufficient, there is always an opportunity to enhance it. When you analyze your program, you may discover new ways to achieve a higher level of clean.
    • Guesstimate. There’s no need to play the guessing game with your facility maintenance program. Many modern tools are available to you for free online to assist you in planning and executing the very best solution strategies.
    • Short-Change on Change. Every facility is unique and requires solutions customized to their specific needs. While modeling your maintenance plan off of another facility’s may be easy and effective, make sure you take the time to evaluate what’s best for your facility. Building an exclusive plan may present you with various new opportunities.

    For more solutions or guidance on creating a facility maintenance program, visit betco.com to learn about our innovative resources and training sessions.

  • Do Foam Soaps Save Water?

    Sep 21, 2017

    It often comes as a surprise to building owners that the typical restroom faucet can use as much as 2.5 gallons of water per minute. If used ten times in an hour, that’s 25 gallons of water going down the drain. Over the course of an eight hour day, water consumption can top 200+ gallons per faucet. There are very effective aerators available along with other water-reducing systems that work to reduce consumption, however, the amount of water used for hundreds of hand washings in a typical facility every day can be excessive.

    In today’s world, and especially in large areas of the United States, this is no longer sustainable. Building owners and facility managers must consider all measures possible to conserve water and use it more responsibly. When it comes to hand washing, one way to reduce water consumption is to simply change the hand soaps available for people to wash their hands.

    According to an independent study in the UK, foam soaps can reduce water consumption by 10 percent to as much as 50 percent per washing. This is because foam soap is lighter than traditional liquid soaps, so it requires less water to rinse off. Foam soaps also tend to lather more quickly than liquid hand soaps, helping to reduce water waste.

    Building owners and facility managers should note that many facilities have found that switching to foam soaps results in cost savings. This is because less time is spent running water while money runs down the drain.

    This is all very good, especially with concerns about water conservation mounting, it sounds like foam soaps are the way to go. However, before making the switch, there is one more question to ask: are foam soaps as effective at cleaning hands as are liquid soaps?

    Foam soaps are manufactured from traditional liquid soaps and because they are lighter, easier to use, and faster to lather, many observers believe they are actually more effective than traditional hand soaps.

    We should also note that similar to traditional liquid hand soaps, Betco manufactures regular foam hand washing/cleansing soaps as well as antibacterial foam hand soaps. These soaps provide a thorough hand washing that helps protect the health of building users along with the budgets of building owners as they promote sustainability.

    Talk to a Betco representative about your hand soap and hygiene needs. Also, Betco U, Betco’s free certification and training program, has a study guide specifically addressing hand hygiene issues. Along with hand hygiene, Betco U includes information and training programs on a variety of health-protecting and facility maintenance related issues. To contact a Betco representative please email welisten@betco.com.

  • Bulk Soap Dispensers

    Sep 21, 2017

    Millions of people use refillable (bulk) soap dispensers to wash their hands, but what they don’t know is they may be putting their health at risk. Studies have shown that bacteria levels found in bulk soap dispensers were in concentrations levels higher than what industry standards deem as “safe”. Why?

    • Inadequate cleaning – Germs grow inside the dispenser because they do not get properly cleaned or sanitized every time they are refilled
    • Airborne and environmental contaminants can land in the open container
    • Cleaning personnel not properly dressed in PPE (personal protective equipment, such as gloves)
    • “Topping off” or improper refilling – new soap is tainted when coming in contact with contaminated soap
    • Diluted hand soap – some companies try to save money and dilute down concentrated soap formulas

    The CDC (Centers for Disease Control), recommends the following:

    • Liquid products should be stored in closed containers and dispensed from either disposable containers, or containers that are washed and dried thoroughly before refilling
    • Soap should not be added to a partially empty dispenser because this practice of “topping off” might lead to bacterial contamination of soap and negate the beneficial effect of hand cleaning and disinfection

    Hand hygiene is the single MOST IMPORTANT way to reduce the transmission of germs from person to person that can cause infections. The following infections are associated with opportunistic bacteria that are found in contaminated bulk soap dispensers:

    • Respiratory Infections
    • Eye Infections
    • Skin Infections
    • Blood Infections
    • Urinary Tract Infections

    It is safe to say that by upgrading and standardizing your current bulk dispensers to closed sanitary sealed dispensing systems, you can prevent cross contamination and reduce the transmission of infections from person to person?

  • Why Wash Your Hands with Dirty Soap?

    Sep 21, 2017

    Keep in mind…

    Millions of people during their daily routines use refillable (bulk) soap dispensers to wash their hands, so think about this … every time someone washes their hands with soap from a refillable dispenser, are they putting their health at risk?

    Why wash your hands with dirty soap?

    Studies have shown that bacteria levels found in bulk soap dispensers were in concentrations levels higher than what industry standards deem as “safe”:

    Causes are:

    • Inadequate cleaning – Germs grow inside the dispenser because they do not get properly cleaned or sanitized every time they are refilled
    • Airborne and environmental contaminants can land in the open container
    • Opening dispensers to refill soap in unsanitary reservoir, such as a restroom, where fecal bacteria is exposed
    • Cleaning personnel not properly dressed in PPE (personal protective equipment, such as gloves), have cleaned toilets, and then moved on to refill the dispensers
    • “Topping off” or improper refilling – new soap is tainted when coming in contact with contaminated soap
    • Diluted hand soap – companies try to save money and dilute down concentrated soap formulas

    The CDC (Centers for Disease Control), recommends the storing of products as follows:

    • Liquid products should be stored in closed containers and dispensed from either disposable containers, or containers that are washed and dried thoroughly before refilling
    • Soap should not be added to a partially empty dispenser because this practice of “topping off” might lead to bacterial contamination of soap and negate the beneficial effect of hand cleaning and disinfection

    Hand hygiene is the single MOST IMPORTANT way to reduce the transmission of germs from person to person that can cause infections.

  • Cold and Flu Season – Health Advisory Alert.

    Sep 21, 2017

    Cold and Flu Season – Health Advisory Alert, Stay Safe! Wash Your Hands!

    The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) suggests samples taken from current reported flu cases shows the current flu vaccine may not be a good match for this season’s flu strain circulating the US.

    The US health agency issued an advisory to doctors noting these samples showed that just under half of these samples were a good match for the influenza A (H3N2) component contained in flu shots for the 2014-2015 season, suggests the virus has drifted.  According to the CDC, the flu season has been low but increasing with the Influenza A (H3N2) being the predominant strain with cases detected all over the US.

    The CDC is stressing doctors should be prepared to use antiviral medications when needed and start treatment protocols early. This will help:

    • Shorten the duration of the fever and illness symptoms
    • Reduce the risk of complications from influenza (otitis media in young children and pneumonia requiring antibiotics in adults)
    • Reduces the risk of death among hospitalized patients

    CDC continues to recommend a three-pronged approach:

    1. Get vaccinated
    2. Use antiviral medications when indicated for treatment or prevention
    3. Use of other preventative health practices that will help decrease the spread of influenza – hand washing, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, social distancing (staying home from work and school when ill, staying away from people who are sick

    *Incorporate skin care products, hand washing steps and the following links

    • Influenza Vaccines available in the US, 2014 – 2015 Influenza Season

    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccines.htm

    • Information for healthcare professionals on the use of influenza antiviral medications:

    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/antivirals/

    • Summary of influenza antiviral treatment recommendations for clinicians:

    http://www/cdc/gov/flu/professionals/antivirals/summary-clinician/htm#summary

    • Interim guidance for influenza outbreak management in long term care facilities:

    http://www/cdc/gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/ltc-facility-guidance/htm

       

    For more information, follow the link below:

    http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00374.asp

    HAN

         

    CDC's Health Alert Network (HAN) is CDC's primary method of sharing cleared information about urgent public health incidents with public information officers; federal, state, territorial, and local public health practitioners; clinicians; and public health laboratories.

    CDC’s HAN collaborates with federal, state, territorial, and city/county partners to develop protocols and stakeholder relationships that will ensure a robust interoperable platform for the rapid distribution of public health information.