Posts Tagged ‘staph infection’

For more on biofilm and its treatment see here.

SpiroFlo shares some recent updates from the American Dental Association (ADA) regarding their standards for the treatment of biofilm (water-borne bacteria).

Up until five years ago, biofilm—bacteria communities that grow wherever there is water—was the dirty little secret of the medical industry. However, these days I see a lot of articles acknowledging the tie between biofilm and staph infections. There are all kinds of other associated problems, too, including hip replacements and catheters.

Water municipalities and dentists, however, they’re still fairly quiet on their biofilm issues. Of course, if you do a little digging, you can find standards from the American Dental Association (ADA) on how much bacteria they’re allowed in their water lines (hint: it’s higher than zero, but below the standards for drinking water). This came after an otherwise healthy 82-year-old woman developed Legionnaires’ disease after a dental visit in 2012. While it sounds cool, Legionnaires’ disease can be acute or fatal as it’s essentially bacteria spreading and causing problems in your respiratory system. You can’t get it from other people either, so it was basically a gimme that the woman got it from dental surgery.

Thus the 2004 ADA standards on bacteria—from a time when hardly anyone spoke of biofilm—got a much-needed update.

By CDC/ William Cherry [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lung tissue during legionellosis / Legionnaires’ disease

Here it is in layman’s terms: When a doctor or dentist is cutting you open—be it your body or your gums—that part of you is exposed to bacteria. Then, when you get sown up, infection can be locked in to grow, often at a time when you’re immune system is down. The effects of this infection can be as minor as an upset stomach the day after or as major as some of the issues above.

Regardless, it’s not the kind of stuff you want to know about before your six-month check-up or a surgery, since, there’s nothing you can actually do to stop the infection. Freak out with hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes (and please videotape if you do) — it’ll make no difference.

Of course, I went to this dentist this week and started asking questions. More on that next time.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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SpiroFlo analyzes the terms that make up the environmental world—the cliché, the misunderstood, and the “don’t tell your mama” variety—and how they play in today’s society. Today’s word was, up until recently, the dirty little secret of water. If you don’t know about biofilm, it’s time for a basic education about the little bacteria community that could (and unfortunately still can in places you don’t even want to think about). Fortunately, SpiroFlo has a solution.

Biofilm is a bacteria that grows wherever there is water. Like most bacteria, it has some good uses, but for the most part, biofilm is causing far more problems than it’s solving. You know that creepy film on your teeth when you wake up in the morning? That’s biofilm. The goopy, green stuff hanging from pipes — that’s biofilm. Most biofilm is too small to see without a microscope, but considering 80% of all chronic, recurring infections involve biofilm, what you can’t see can hurt you.

In the same way that we have those satellite cameras in space that can zoom down into your house to watch you eat Chef Boyardee in your underpants, there are micro cameras that can zoom down into various microbes. When these micro cameras have zoomed into biofilm, it looks like a slime city. Biofilm isn’t just easily treatable free-floating bacteria; it’s a community that sticks readily to any surface (heart valves, pipe, the inside of an opened water bottle, etc.). With a regenerative, sticky film, the biofilm is very tough to remove, and it protects the other bacteria inside. Biofilm also has polymer webs that allow it to concentrate nutrients and resist purification. A lot of this info comes from Andy Coghlan’s “Slime City” — which is some of the newest info we have about biofilm… and the article came out in 1996.

Welcome to Slime City

The biggest thing we’ve learned about biofilm over the last 15 years is that the problem is way worse than we thought. In addition to infecting hospitals and drinking water, biofilm shows up in the very (not-so-) sterile lines dentists use to rinse out your mouth. (My condolences if your six-month check-up is today.) Recently, however, it seems as though biofilms aren’t the closeted secret they were 10 years back, as the medical industry is finally starting to publicly acknowledge the severity of the problem. Even Listerine is getting in on the act, touting a commercial about how their mouthwash kills biofilm… well, at least for half a day.

Since I work with the water industry via SpiroFlo, I’ve mostly been focused on biofilm removal applications in residential drinking water and industrial water purification. The “solutions” for these applications were, up until recently, chlorine chemical treatments (which don’t work, so companies continually increase their concentration and frequency of use) and monochloramine treatments (which also don’t work, so companies continually increase their concentration and the frequency of use). At best, these treatments can slow the stretch of the sprawling problem, so it’s a little like trying to hogtie a millipede with dental floss. Thankfully the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has endorsed Sterilex as a chemical treatment that completely kills biofilm. Did I say a treatment? I meant to say it’s the only EPA-endorsed chemical treatment. So even though the government has a general rule about not endorsing any particular product, somehow there’s one lonely EPA-endorsed biofilm removal chemical. (My beef is with the faulty protocol, not the solution.*) Can you figure out what the problem with Sterilex is? You guessed it: As the one and only government-endorsed chemical solution to completely kill biofilm, Sterilex is incredibly expensive. It’s kind of hard to readily treat a widespread problem when the main solutions are ineffective or unaffordable.

So here’s where I get to toot my company’s horn: A large, multinational corporation recently completed an independent test regarding the SpiroFlo device’s ability to remove biofilm. This patented SpiroFlo device sets up a spiraling flow that travels around the boundary layer of a pipe — the area of the pipe that is often missed by even the best chemical treatments (and, of course, where biofilm loves to grow). With water alone (as in no chemical treatment), the SpiroFlo device took the biofilm from “too many to count” to less than 100 parts per million. (That’s one of those numbers that basically means: might as well be zero.) These biofilm still need to be neutralized or flushed out — otherwise those sticky suckers can reattach downstream — but since the bacteria is now free-floating, it is easily treated.  One of the other benefits of the SpiroFlo device is that it helps keep chemical treatments suspended for longer, meaning that a company can use less chemicals and get the same result, especially as SpiroFlo scrapes the biofilm loose. As a result of these findings, this large multinational corporation has purchased SpiroFlo device for use in conjunction with Sterilex. More info is available on this page.

Here’s to having hidden solutions exposed as well.

*EDIT: Turns out the government protocol isn’t faulty, rather just so exhaustive that only Sterilex has gone through it. See here.


Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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