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Is Your Workplace a Clean Space?

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The average work space can contain millions of microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeasts, molds and fungi, which can spread in a matter of minutes.  These microorganisms can grow at a geometric rate.  That means that your desktop can be contaminated with millions of bacteria in just a few minutes.

Just how bad is it?  According to Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, “For bacteria, a desk is really the laptop of luxury.  They can feast all day from breakfast to lunch and even dinner.”  The bacteria that are crawling all over your telephone, mouse and keyboard may include hundreds of different types that can cause stains, odors and mildew. 

“We don’t think twice about eating at our desks, even though the average desk has 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet,” says Dr. Gerba.  Just to give you an idea, here are relative microorganism densities of frequently touched office equipment according to Dr. Gerba: 

Phone: 25,127 microorganisms per square inch
Desktop surface: 20,961 microorganisms per square inch
Keyboard: 3,295 microorganisms per square inch
Mouse: 1,676 microorganisms per square inch
Fax Machine: 301 microorganisms per square inch
Copy machine: 69 microorganisms per square inch
Toilet seat: 49 microorganisms per square inch

Fighting back
How can we fight back?  One way is to regularly clean these surfaces as well as disinfect them.  In order to properly disinfect these surfaces you can use a disinfecting wipe made specifically for this purpose every day.  Another way is to frequently wash your hands with soap, for a minimum of 15-30 seconds.  Unfortunately, research shows that although 95 percent of people say they wash their hands after using a public restroom, only 67 percent really do, and just 33 percent of those use soap, while only 16 percent of those who wash their hands do so long enough for it to be effective (15-30 seconds or as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday).

Silver based antimicrobial products
That is why Dr. Gerba believes that additional measures are needed.  One such solution is to use products with antimicrobial protection.  Gerba believes that products that incorporate a silver based antimicrobial technology are especially effective.  These products are treated with antimicrobial protection that is bonded–at the molecular level–to the product during manufacture.  This antimicrobial technology is a delivery system for silver ions, which have been proven to have antimicrobial properties.  The breakthrough is that the antimicrobial technology serves as a “time release” mechanism that controls the migration of silver ions to the surface where they can help prevent the growth and migration of microorganisms for the life of the product.  It will not wash off or wear off.  The antimicrobial technology is designed to serve as a major line of defense in combating microorganisms.  When coupled with other hygienic measures, it provides an extra layer of protection.  This technology makes antimicrobial treated products perfect for use in offices, hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities, food service operations, commercial uses and more.

Antimicrobial treated products can keep surfaces cleaner and fresher between routine cleanings and also help control stains and odors.  Examples of products available that have been treated with antimicrobial protection include: Sheet Protectors, Keyboards, Mouse and Mouse Pads, Scissors, Pencils, Pens, Project Folders, Magazine Covers, Telephones and Cell Phones to name a few.  Although we shouldn’t become paranoid, it does make good sense to exercise some caution to keep our workplace a clean space.   Frequent hand washing and cleaning are paramount.  The use of antimicrobial treated products will provide an extra layer of protection.