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Posts Tagged ‘Sterilex’

For more on how the SpiroFlo device takes biofilm from “too many to count” to statistically zero in just one pass, all with no chemicals and no additional power source/carbon footprint, see here.

SpiroFlo shares a conversation with a dentist office about biofilm (bacteria that grows wherever there is water—including in dental lines) and notes what treatments they’ve used in the past versus today.

Last time I shared some of the changing standards on biofilm treatment from the American Dental Association (ADA). Now knowing what I know about biofilm makes it even less pleasant to go to the dentist. It’s like a friend of mine who was a germaphobe before she became a microbiologist. Her researching just how wrong ‘the five-second rule’ with food is didn’t do her any favors. Thus, when I see areas roped off at the dentist or I’m sitting in the creepiest of their chairs (read: ALL OF THEM), I start asking questions.

So, yeah, pretty much every time I’m at the dentist I’m asking questions. The same thing happens when I visit doctors, but that’s a different train wreck.

Mmm, germilicious

This time though, I got an open hygienist and dentist, as this particular office recognizes that they have to stay ahead of the curve where biofilm is concerned. As mentioned previously, the standard chemical treatments of monochloramine don’t work, but as they’re largely the option for biofilm mitigation, many places stick with a “It doesn’t work, but keep doing it anyway” mantra. Instead, this dental office has daily treatment tabs for their water, and, once every few months, they use an overnight chemical treatment then flush their lines.

I think his shades have gotten bigger since this time…

Sterilex has a 100% kill rate for biofilm, but to get that title, they had to spend 10 years and millions of dollars with the EPA. (It’s part of the reason your bathroom cleaner claims it kills 99.9% of bacteria—because that last 0.1% claim is very costly to prove.) Thus Sterilex is expensive and the biofilm starts growing back right away, usually in the very same problem areas.

However, no matter how much this dentist office flushed their water lines after Sterilex, patients complained of a bitter aftertaste. As expensive as Sterilex is, I can’t see anyone who needs their water to taste right—i.e. dentists or drinking water companies—wanting to spend even more on treating the water again, especially as filters can be biofilm-prone areas (essentially perpetuating the costs and the cycle). In addition, Sterilex has a warning about not getting it in your eyes, so that’s not exactly encouraging when you’ve got a crap-aim hygienist hosing your pearly whites with reckless abandon. If nothing else, you better hang on to your Bono shades…

So this dentist, along with many others, uses a form of chlorhexidine instead. Chlorhexidine is a chemical antiseptic used as a rinse, a component of specialized mouthwash, and as a healing agent after dental surgery. Don’t use it too much though—prolonged use turns your teeth and your tongue brown.

Yummy.

However, some studies debate the efficacy of chlorhexidine, and the dentist I spoke with admits that, no matter what chemical treatment they’ve used, they’ve never gotten their bacteria count below 180 CFU (colony-forming units—a microbiological term for estimating bacterial numbers). While 180 may sound like a lot when you talking about bacteria, less than 500 CFU is the standard. Same goes for drinking water standards for acceptable bacteria count.

Bear in mind, this is a dentist office that takes biofilm treatment seriously, and there’s still so much further to go in terms of treatment.

As with any time I speak of biofilm, you have my pity if you’re visiting the dentist soon.

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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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Although it’ll be receiving a few more tweaks over the coming weeks, the new SpiroFlo.com is live! We’ve got sections on how the SpiroFlo device provides homes with a faster, better shower with green benefits as well as sections on how the SpiroFlo device removes biofilm in industrial applications. Be sure to come on by and see how shiny it is.

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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 covers why Sterilex is the only EPA-approved chemical solution to eliminate biofilm.

You've got to earn your 100% kill rate

Back in the Biofilm 101 post, I mentioned that even though the government doesn’t endorse products, somehow Sterilex is the only EPA-approved chemical solution for eliminating biofilm. Although Sterilex is a good (albeit expensive) chemical solution for biofilm treatment, I thought it was an annoying instance of the government not following their own rules, but after chatting with Sterilex, it turns out these cries of government conspiracy need to go on mute.

Basically, when any chemical claims to completely kill any pathogen (or germ) in any application, it has to be approved by the EPA. So in the case of Sterilex claiming to completely eliminate biofilm, they had to go through a stringent process to get that EPA approval. Guess how long that approval process took?

10 years.

So one of the main reasons why Sterilex is the only EPA-approved chemical for completely removing biofilm is because no one else, thus far, can be bothered to go through that marathon process. Even though I was happy when SpiroFlo received the innovative funding for energy efficiency (IFEE) grant from the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), this reminds me of why we don’t work with the government more often.

Interestingly enough, the EPA does not regulate devices that remove pathogens, only chemicals. This means that even though independent testing from a large multi-national has shown that the SpiroFlo device reduces the biofilm from “too many to count” to less than 100 parts per million (read: statistically zero), we can’t ever get that EPA approval. Then again, considering we’d likely have to wait until the end of 2021, I think I’m okay with that. In the mean time, SpiroFlo is exploring use in conjunction with Sterilex (and other chemicals) as the device helps keep the chemicals suspended for longer, thereby improving their efficiency, all while keeping the biofilm counts lower between treatments.

Even if we were eligible for EPA approval, I think I’d just say we’re 99.99% effective at removing biofilm and hope that people can round up.

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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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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.

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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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