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Ozone: An Advancing Technology

The year 2007 began with a prediction of increasing global interest in—and demand for—ozone amongst established and emerging markets. This interest was driven by concerns for protection of public health. The year-end results show that ozone—one element of a group of processes recently referred to as an “advanced technology” by some and a “green technology” by others—is receiving strong acceptance in many industries. The following summarizes the International Ozone Association’s (IOA) educational activities and process applications.

Health Care: Commercial Laundries

National and local news media have been working overtime since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in the October 2007 Journal of the American Medical Association that in 2005, 94,000 people contracted serious or invasive staph infections, and 19,000 of them died—rates three times the previous estimates.

Both staph and a drug-resistant, harder-to-treat strain known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can cause serious skin infections, pneumonia or infections of the bloodstream, ear, urinary tract or the lining of the brain. MRSA had nearly always been connected to health care facilities, hospitals and nursing homes, but now about 15% of MRSA cases in the U.S. are spreading into public facilities, such as schools, athletic facilities, health clubs and hospitality industries, according to the CDC report.

CDC recommendations for preventing infections in the general public focus on good hygiene, including regular and rigorous hand washing, showering and not sharing towels, razors and other potentially contaminated items or surfaces with others. It also recommends keeping a barrier, such as clothing or a towel, between your skin and shared equipment and doing an antimicrobial wipe down of frequently contacted surfaces, such as faucets, tubs, sinks, floors, toilets and shower stall surfaces before and after use.

IOA members have been out front on laundry applications with laboratory and real-world application studies, in conjunction with their customers and testing agencies, to show that ambient temperature wash of laundry and surfaces with ozonated water is effective at reducing pathogenic organisms, including Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and MRSA by up to 99.9999%.

In a paper presented at the IOA conference in Arlington, Texas, titled, “Ozone in the Laundry Industry—Practical Experiences in the United Kingdom,” Cardis, et. al. reported on comparative testing conducted by Microsearch Laboratories that confirmed low-temperature ozone wash is extremely effective at deactivating organisms typically found on garments, towels and linens from healthcare facilities, including the “super bug” MRSA and the dangerous and hard-to-kill Clostridium difficile.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Laundry Inks $23.7 Million Military Hospital Contract

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Division Laundry & Cleaners process over 16 million pounds of linens yearly for hospitals and hotels. San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) recently awarded the family-run business a 5-year, $23.7 million contract for laundry services.