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Green Cleaning Hype May Be Drowning the Truth

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the University of Iowa found a strong association between endotoxin levels and the prevalence of diagnosed asthma: irritant problems caused by bacteria endotoxins. In the October, 2005, issue of Building Service Management e-newsletter, an article focuses on how too much moisture within a building can encourage microorganism proliferation resulting with the same problem.

In an article by Kenneth Todar, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Bacteriology, he said that “endotoxins are heat stable—boiling for 30 minutes does not destabilize endotoxins—but certain powerful oxidizing agents such as superoxide, peroxide and hypochlorite, degrade them”. That is to say that the oxidizing agents can fall short of assuring total germ kill on soiled surfaces.

If we combine Todar's study results with the fact that disinfectants, when applied into soil don’t kill all of the germs (bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and virus) and the commonly-known fact that surviving germs mutate to become germs totally resistant to their attack chemical, we may have conclusions from different studies converging to make one disquieting conclusion: When peroxide-type detergents are used in cleaning, “left behind” soils contain mutated bacteria giving off super endotoxins that elevate the irritating and sickening effect on facility inhabitants— i.e. school children. The same situation prevails when a visible buildup of germ-laden soil is washed using a disinfectant solution and not all soil is removed—mutated super germs will be found in the “left behind” soil to heighten the infectious impact of germs when they find human hosts.

The sanitary supply manufacturers are sliding from disinfectant detergents toward the oxides to “fire-up” sales supported with fancy talk. But, the affect derived from attacking a microorganism with any debilitating chemical (germicides or oxides) causes mutation of only microorganisms resistant to “killer” chemicals and potentially creating conditions that are more lethal than before the "germ killing" attack. It needs to be thoroughly understood that newly-touted “green products” must clean as well as or better than the products they are replacing.

In the best interest of public health and cost control, building owners and managers must arm themselves with the facts about facility sanitation in order to prevent themselves from falling into the trap of “throwing” another “chemical-ide” (i.e. peroxide, germicide) at invisible microorganisms simply because a salesperson used “fear talk” about being compliant with this or that anonymous “green” regulation.

Drying up a highly-humid facility with dehumidifiers will not be the end-all to the allergen/asthma problem: When in dry soil (e.g. on a partially cleaned surface), microorganisms become spores waiting to board hosts (people) from which they receive a continuous supply of nutrient and water—then whammo, a facility-acquired infection that can prove to be deadly, an irritation that can trigger an asthma attack, or a debilitating allergy irruption. The safest, most assured, and simplest practice is to wash surfaces well with a general cold water detergent and dump the "dirty" water down the drain with the troublemaking microorganism in tow!

By using all purpose detergents for washing, potential microorganism mutation and necessary soil removal fall in the safe zone. On the other hand, germicides and other microorganism-attack cleaning chemicals are less proficient at removing serious amounts of soil and therefore leave stronger chemical-resistant germs behind. Microorganism-attack cleaning chemicals also maximize the negative effect of contaminating our environment with chemicals that force microorganisms to mutate into stronger and possibly more deadly strains that may cause epidemic problems down the road.

Because stronger and stronger germicides force microorganism mutation to "out-of-sight" levels, medical research is forced to produce antidotes that are extremely toxic to the patient—forcing the cycle to forever escalate. Today, the sanitary supply industry’s new hype is peroxide and/or delimonine detergents for "anti germ" cleaning procedures—“new generation” products that they say “fall within” Green Clean “safe chemical” standards. The hype on the street used to sell the “new” Green Products drowns out the fact that these “new and improved” products ALSO cause germs to mutate into highly resistant super germs.

That may be why US hospitals have one of if not the worst nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infection problem in the world and why other facilities like schools are experiencing severe allergy and asthma flare-ups. In the best interest of public health, everyone needs to keep their focus on this matter and remember that if microorganisms are washed away in "dirty water" and sent down the drain for nature to handle, menacing health problems will be minimized or eliminated. We must always remember that if a germicide or oxide detergent does not remove 100% of the soil, any “left behind” soil (including invisible soil) contains mutated germs that are resistant to the chemical used in attempting to kill the germ. When using any cleaning agent that is designed to kill germs, kill results must be “total kill”—no surviving germs... any surviving germs will have mutated—changed their chromosomes (DNA) to become stronger and potentially more lethal strains.

Bottom line: It's much safer and easier to just wash the surface well using a cold water free-rinsing detergent. If the surface is clean, it's sanitary.

A side thought: If disinfectants and other germ-killing and/or germ-attacking chemicals cause germs to mutate into stronger strains in "left behind" soil, what are these chemicals doing to microorganisms in sewer systems and ultimately our waterways? Since microorganisms are found everywhere, mutation happens wherever microorganism-attacking chemicals exist while/after going down the drain. The Green Crowd seems to be silent about the way disinfectants and other germ-attacking chemicals may cause harm to fish and aquatic vegetation—chemicals you may find on their "approved" Green List. Maybe the silence is because the Green Crowd likes money too—they get manufacturers to pay them tens of thousands of dollars per product to get products on the "approved" Green List. In the whole scheme of things, it makes no difference how "friendly" a chemical's raw materials may be to the earth, if a chemical causes germs to severely mutate, mankind will end up getting bitten in the preverbal "keister" sometime in the future. Does epidemic ring a bell?

Thank you.

Gabe Zanche, Sr. - Co-Founder of Gabriel First Corp. Copyright © 2006 Gabriel First Corp.

Please feel free to contact the Gabriel team if you have any comments or questions on this material.