Delivering world class and leading edge technical information about where the industry, as a whole, is headed, CIRI continues to act as the most substantial forum in which the new science that underpins the entire cleaning sector is presented, reviewed and discussed.
By Greg Whiteley*
The latest meeting of the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (International) was held in the second week of November at the Georgia Tech Conference Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. The focus of this ‘fall symposium’ was cleaning and disinfecting, the title of the event was ‘Cleaning and Disinfection: The science, practice and controversy’. The event was attended by about 70 of the key industry and research leaders in the Global Jansan sector.
The conference commenced with a keynote address by Professor Eugene Cole from Brigham Young University, in Provost Utah. Professor Cole has a lifetime of research experience in applied microbiology and healthcare cleaning. He outlined most of the up-to-date information on cleaning and disinfectant issues including the key tests and approaches taken in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is the primary US regulator for surface disinfectants.
Cole was scathing about the lack of reputable studies done in applied research on the application of disinfectants – a theme which was followed by several speakers.
Associate Professor Elizabeth Scott (Simons College, Boston Massachusetts) followed with a paper which dealt with the interactions between cleanliness at work and at home. Scott is a member of the IFH network (International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene) and spoke insightfully on some of the difficulties of infection control when people rely on disinfectants alone without effective cleaning and overall hygiene controls or standards.
Other speakers who addressed the issues surrounding disinfectants and their usage came from all over the US, and included key executives and researchers from both private industry and the University sector. These included Emeritus Professor Steven Spivak (chairman of the CIRI Technical Advisory Council and board member), Dr Ira Salkin (formerly of the New York State Department of Health), Dr Jason Marshall and Dr Nancy Goodyear from the University of Massachusetts, Dr Benjamin Tanner from Antimicrobial Test Laboratories, Mark McLoughlin of Restor-All (remediation cleaning specialists) and Michael Pinto of Wonder Makers Environmental Consultants. The technical issues of testing and application were all reviewed.
The first day was filled with presentations challenging the way disinfection is approached, from a healthcare and regulatory viewpoint; while the second day moved into a range of practical studies. Curtis White – formerly a microbiologist and member of the DOW Chemical Formulating Laboratories, now with SAS Global – kicked off with a very thorough review of the array of standard testing methods for antimicrobials in the US. Following this, two fresh research programs were presented by John Richter of Kaivac International and then Cliff Beiser of Champions Touch.
Both had used ATP monitoring to measure cleaning outcomes with novel approaches to cleaning and training. The data was presented to the meeting with the outcomes of the studies, and then discussed in a panel session. The feeling of the meeting was that the Jansan sector was moving quickly into a period where new methods of cleaning measurement would swamp the market with new data on how to clean.
The meeting concluded with a presentation from William Balek, the Legal Counsel for the ISSA and the Director of Environmental Services for ISSA. Balek spoke on the negotiations and protocols that the EPA uses to assess Green claims with disinfectant chemicals. Balek made it apparent that there is still some way to go before we have a clear and unambiguous mechanism to approve Green claims in the US market, particularly with antimicrobials.
Overall, this was another resounding success for CIRI and its membership. The last four meetings of CIRI have each canvassed the key forward issues for the entire Jansan sector. The best and brightest thinking and research on the next trends have each turned up at CIRI, well prior to breaking into the mainstream of the US cleaning market place.
I have attended the last three CIRI meetings; the technical information presented is world class and leading edge. The debates and forums provide a fulcrum upon which the participants can measure their own commercial responses as they plan out their own corporate propositions. There is a solid dose of intellectual nourishment, balanced with a scientific platform for sound business growth into the next five years and beyond. In this CIRI forum, not only were the major challenges surrounding disinfectants addressed, but suggestions and alternatives for resolving concerns and overcoming difficulties were put forward and discussed amongst those present to spur further research.
CIRI is not for everyone, but if you want to mix with the best and brightest in the Jansan sector and see where the industry, as a whole is headed, then CIRI is by far the best conference to attend. There is no trade show – it is a technical meeting alone. If your company is engaged in conducting its own research program, for example business improvement trials, then this is a great forum to put forward your ideas and measure how they will be received.
CIRI continues to act as the most substantial forum in which the new science that underpins the entire cleaning sector is presented, reviewed and discussed. It is not to be missed and I thoroughly recommend attendance.
*Greg Whiteley is the managing director of Whiteley Corporation and a highly credentialed executive in the fields of hygiene and infection control, www.whiteley.com.au