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Toronto Office Disinfection Services Prevent Coronavirus Spread

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How The Best Toronto-Area Office Disinfection Service Can Prevent Coronavirus Infection In Your Workplace

 

Note [4/11/2020]: The coronavirus outbreak is a worldwide public health emergency and the situation changes daily. The best way to stay safe is to adhere to public health officials’ latest recommendations, regulations, and restrictions in your area. For more information about the outbreak, recommended disinfecting and sanitizing services, and other tips to prevent coronavirus exposure and infection, see the COVID-19 information and prevention guidelines from the Government of Canada and WHO.

 

The Surface-Level Impacts Of The Coronavirus Outbreak Are Universal

Though the coronavirus outbreak has had varying impacts on different industry sectors and operations, every business is facing the difficult — and often costly — task of preparing and modifying workplaces to prevent coronavirus exposure among staff and customers [1].

 

Every Business Must Take Explicit Steps To Prevent Coronavirus Exposure

For non-essential businesses, the standard actions to prevent coronavirus spread in the workplace are drastic, including: mandated closure, a rapid transition to working from home, and limited office accessibility [2].

For businesses still operating in-person, the necessary steps to prevent coronavirus exposure (and reduce risk of transmission during day-to-day operations) are no less drastic, though they are far less clear-cut. Many people still feel confused about what cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing behaviors are necessary (and what disinfecting and sanitizing products are sufficient) to prevent coronavirus spread to and between vulnerable populations and essential personnel. As a result, there’s little confidence that what businesses are doing to prevent coronavirus exposure in the workplace is enough, with as many as 42% of people still working in open offices stating a strong belief that it’s only a matter of time before their workplace becomes a “hotbed” for infection [3].

 

Social Distancing & DIY Disinfecting And Sanitizing Measures Are Simply Not Enough

Health agencies’ guidance to prevent coronavirus exposure in workspaces note that the best effort is multifaceted [4]. While enacting social distancing, empowering employees to work in isolation, and sending employees home who feel ill are all important and necessary, so too is regular cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing.

While there are resources available listing the DIY disinfecting and sanitizing measures and products that may be most effective to prevent coronavirus outbreaks in your office, DIY strategies cannot replace a well-qualified office disinfecting service for a number of reasons. For one, employees are not disinfecting and sanitizing experts. Moreover, consumer disinfecting and sanitizing products — like wipes and sprays — are not well-suited for every surface, may be difficult to apply effectively to hard-to-reach areas, and often require at least four minutes and up to 10 minutes of “dwell time” (time during which the surface must remain visibly wet in order for the product to fulfill sanitizing and disinfecting promises).

As a result, few consumer-directed disinfecting and sanitizing efforts are as effective as they could be. Some may even create a false sense of safety in the workspace, causing employees to relax otherwise still-critical social distancing steps needed to prevent coronavirus spread.

 

What Is The Difference Between Disinfecting And Sanitizing Vs. Everyday Cleaning

Not all products — or procedures — being used to prevent coronavirus spread are equally effective.

Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing are critical parts of any effort to prevent coronavirus spread because the virus, having been exhaled by an infected person, can survive on most surfaces for an alarmingly long period of time.  For example, coronavirus persists on paper for about three hours, can survive on fabric surfaces for two days, and on nonwoven fabrics (like some linens, carpets, and automotive seat coverings and safety belts) for up to seven days [5]. People who come into contact with these contaminated surfaces are at risk for infection.

Everyday cleaning can be helpful in efforts to prevent coronavirus exposure because cleaning removes dirt, dust, and other particulate matter from surfaces. It does not, however, kill bacteria or viruses and, consequently, does little to prevent coronavirus persistence [6].

By comparison, disinfecting and sanitizing prevent coronavirus persistence by killing the virus, not just moving it, even after an infected person has directly coughed or breathed onto a surface. That is because the virus itself is, according to environmental health scientists, “wimpy” once an appropriate sanitizing or disinfecting product breaches its fatty protective layer [7].

 

For Businesses Still Open In-Person, Appropriate Disinfecting And Sanitizing Is Essential

Finding adequate disinfecting and sanitizing solutions without overspending on unnecessary and/or ineffective cleaning products or services is increasingly important for multiple reasons:

  • For Staff Member & Customer Safety: First and foremost, every business has a responsibility to keep personnel and customers safe by seeking to prevent coronavirus exposure and transmission as much as possible.
  • For Financial Protection: The balance of most firms’ emergency accounts is already beginning to thin. This makes disinfecting and sanitizing solutions that present the greatest possible value-for-dollar with limited work disruption critical tools to prevent coronavirus-related losses (both short- and long-term).
  • For Brand Credibility: Being able to promise staff and customers a safe workspace and demonstrating a commitment to prevent coronavirus exposure and infection is essential to building credibility and trust during the crisis.

Firms that fail to secure office disinfection services that are both cost- and demonstrably-effective will struggle to survive and recover from the economic impacts of the outbreak. That is because the community will be less likely to lend its support to (or repatronize) a business that appears reticent in its duty to prevent coronavirus exposure, or that appears to place profits over protection of its staff and customers.

 

Characteristics Of High-Quality & Effective Office Disinfection Services To Prevent Coronavirus

The average desk harbors more than 800 bacteria per square inch (a 14x higher density than the average toilet seat)  [8]. Likewise, desktop phones in professional workspaces can harbor as many as 1600 bacteria and viruses per square inch, likely a result of their close proximity to workers’ faces and mouths [9].

Other hotspots to target to prevent coronavirus exposure in the office include common area surfaces and uncommonly-cleaned locations, like the elevator call buttons. This suggests that working with a high-quality office disinfection service is an essential step to prevent coronavirus exposure in your workspace, as daily cleaning and DIY sanitizing and disinfecting procedures leave so much behind.

Moreover, the best office disinfection services:

  1. Use well-known high-efficiency procedures, like fogging with sanitizing and disinfecting products.
  2. Do not just spray sanitizing and disinfecting products into the air (or provide misleading information to consumers about the risk of airborne vs. surface exposure) [10].
  3. Target high-frequency touch surfaces as well as infrequently-cleaned and hard-to-reach surfaces, especially those involved in air circulation [11].
  4. Use commercial-grade products that have a dramatically shorter-than-average dwell time, increasing the likelihood that they will be fully effective in their efforts to prevent coronavirus persistence on surfaces.

 

Prevent Coronavirus-Related Business Losses Now & After The Outbreak Is Over

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to develop, it is increasingly important for business owners to take appropriate disinfecting and sanitizing measures to protect staff and customers at in-person office locations. What’s more, as mandated business closures and social distancing come to an end, firms that make appropriate office disinfection service investments will find it easier and faster to reopen and resume business.

For more information about How CleanFirst’s office disinfection service can prevent coronavirus and other illnesses from spreading within your workplace, see our full service description or contact a disinfecting and sanitizing specialist today.

 

Sources:

  1. https://nationalpost.com/news/amid-covid-19-there-will-be-winners-and-losers-among-canadas-small-businesses-and-some-really-have-no-idea
  2. https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/04/ontario-extends-business-closures-to-stop-the-spread-of-covid-19.html
  3. https://www.businessinsider.com/ways-to-protect-yourself-from-illness-office
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
  5. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-long-can-coronavirus-live-on-surfaces-how-to-disinfect-2020-3
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html
  7. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/does-disinfecting-surfaces-really-prevent-spread-coronavirus
  8. https://graphics.wsj.com/annotation/?slug=germ-office&standalone=1#/#4
  9. https://graphics.wsj.com/annotation/?slug=germ-office&standalone=1#/#2
  10. https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-sanitation-disinfection-around-the-world-in-photos-2020-3
  11. https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-disinfectant-cleaning-guide/

Is indoor air quality testing really necessary?

Posted by | Blog, Home Air Quality, Indoor air quality testing | No Comments

 

 

picture of indoor air polution

Does Indoor Air Quality matter?

We all know by now that the quality of the air we breathe is a major factor on our health and environment.
Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. In addition, it can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue. People who already have immune compromised conditions are at greater risk.
indoor-air-pollution-danger-levels-chart
The first step of defense against indoor air pollution is finding ways to keep the pollutants out of the air inside of our homes in the first place. This is sometimes referred to as source control.
The lack of adequate ventilation, which results in a buildup of contaminants from sources within the home, affects the indoor air quality in a negative way. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health identified inadequate ventilation as the primary problem in more than half the workplace indoor air investigations it has conducted. Investigations conducted in homes by the Illinois Department of Public Health have found the same to be true. These investigations revealed that proper ventilation is important in maintaining good indoor air quality. Appropriate ventilation with clean fresh air can reduce the levels of indoor air pollutants. Most residential heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems recirculate indoor air to conserve energy. The current trend in the construction of new homes is to reduce air leakage through cracks and other openings in walls, floors, and roofs. The combination of these construction practices and the recirculation of indoor air have led to an increase in indoor air problems. Finally, while air cleaning devices can be useful, they are no substitute for preventing the indoor air from getting dirty in the first place.

 

Health effects of common air pollutants and ways we can control their sources:

IndoorAirQuality

 

Organic Pollutants

Mold, bacteria, viruses, pollen, animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches and other possible insects or animals excrements. These may cause infections, provoke allergic symptoms or trigger asthma attacks. They are a major cause of lost days from work and school. Means of control include washing bedding frequently, keeping pests out, frequent cleaning and sanitization of all surfaces, keeping indoor dust to minimum and controlling moisture that promotes mold growth.

Tobacco Smoke

We all know Smoke is a major indoor air pollutant. It contains some 200 known chemicals, such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, and at least 60 are known to cause cancer. According to the American Lung cancer Association every year it causes an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths and up to 50,000 heart disease deaths. In children, especially infants, it is responsible for pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections and ear infections. It causes asthma to develop, causes asthma attacks, and makes attacks worse. Source control: No one should smoke.

Combustion Pollutants

Combustion Pollutants come from sources such as fireplaces, furnaces, fuel burning stoves, heaters, and water heaters, using gas, oil, coal, wood, and other fuel source appliances. The most dangerous are both colorless and odorless gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Carbon Monoxide interferes with the delivery of oxygen to the body and can produce fatigue, headache, confusion, nausea, and dizziness. Very high levels can cause death. Nitrogen dioxide irritates the mucous membranes in the eye, nose and throat and can cause shortness of breath and promote infections.  Source control: The best way to control these pollutants is to make sure combustion appliances properly used are installed and maintained by reliable professionals and have monitors/leak detectors installed.

Radon

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that forms in the soil, most often can enter the home through the cracks in foundation floor, drains, and other sources. Indoor radon exposure is estimated to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in North America responsible for at least 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Steps to control radon include testing your home to ensure no radon is present and following recommendations for further testing and repairs if necessary.
howradonentersahouse

Asbestos

A non-flammable mineral that can release microscopic fibers, that when inhaled into the lungs can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and another cancer called mesothelioma. Many asbestos products are found in homes build before 1986, including roofing, flooring materials, and insulation for ceilings, walls, plumbing and heating equipment. Source control: if your house was built before 1986 get a designated substance report before any renovation or repair. 

Formaldehyde

A chemical, found primarily in adhesives, bonding agents for many materials found inside of our houses and offices, including carpets, upholstery, particle board, and plywood paneling. The release of formaldehyde into the air can cause health problems, such as: headaches, coughing, eye, nose, and throat irritation; skin rashes, and dizziness. Source control: avoid using products that emit formaldehyde.

 

VOC’s or Volatile organic compounds

Thousands of potentially harmful chemicals are emitted by household cleaning agents, personal care products, pesticides, paints, hobby products, and solvents. They can cause dizziness, nausea, allergic reactions, eye, skin, respiratory tract irritation, and cancer. Minimize your use of such sources of dangerous chemicals, and be sure to follow manufacturer’s directions, including using protective equipment and adequate ventilation. Source control: find greener safer substitutes.

Consider the Facts:

Over 3 million Canadians cope with one of five serious respiratory diseases – asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, tuberculosis (TB), and cystic fibrosis. These and other respiratory diseases such as influenza, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, respiratory distress syndrome and sleep apnea affect individuals of all ages, cultures and backgrounds – from children to parents to grandparents.

In 2013, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.
Cancer-Deaths-Youth-30-Years

25,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer. This represents 14% of all new cancer cases
• 20,200 Canadians will die from lung cancer. This represents 27% of all cancer deaths in 2013.
• 13,300 men will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 10,700 will die from it.
• 12,200 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 9,500 will die from it.
• On average, 70 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer every day.
• On average, 55 Canadians will die from lung cancer every day.

All statistics are estimates from: Canadian Cancer Society’s Steering Committee: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013. Toronto: Canadian Cancer Society, 2013
picture of health effects of poor indoor air quality

 

Protect yourself and your family; know what you are breathing with an assessment of your indoor air quality. Call the experts at 1-800-520-7443