25th June 2019When it comes to keeping clean rooms as clean as possible, especially in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry, you want products that do what they say they will in the most efficient manner possible. You want (and need) products that are the best at what they do.
Disposable tacky mats and peel-off mats are commonplace when it comes to contamination control procedures.It is common knowledge that critical environments, cleanroom or controlled areas should be protected within the manufacturing facility to minimize the presence of both viable and non-viable contamination during manufacturing performed under cleanroom and critical or controlled conditions. Foot and wheel-borne contamination are the two major sources of both viable and non-viable contamination. Therefore, some form of control or preferable elimination of these particles into cleanroom areas is of paramount importance, as particulate contamination affects product yield, productivity, product quality and cost. Disposable tacky Mats and peel-off mats have been the go-to solution to use to inhibit these forms of contamination, however, there are many reasons to suggest why these so-called solutions are causing more problems than they are solving. Independent scientific tests have proven that disposable adhesive peel-off tacky mats are only 27% effective in preventing foot and wheel-borne contamination and there are various other detriments when it comes to using disposable sticky mats and peel-off mats. Size Matters Disposable tacky mats on average have a surface area that is 5 times smaller than your average Dycem Contamination Control floor mat. This is too small to decontaminate effectively and makes full wheel-borne decontamination almost impossible. To put this into context, a singular peel-off mat, 2’ x 4’ can still cause up to 73% contamination to enter your critical environments. Even when 10 of these sticky mats are ganged together 20% of the contamination ‘captured’ is still entering your critical areas and contamination-free zones. This shows that no matter how many sticky mats you gang together, the threat of contamination entering areas that you don’t want it to is still very much prominent. A Non a – peeling solution Peeling away each used tacky mat from a disposable pack, not only leaves you with a layer of contamination you are unsure what to do with or how to throw away but within the process of shedding the sheets of plastic, you are releasing on average 215,000 particles back into the atmosphere, with the majority of the waste particles returning to the air and surrounding environments or even worse, your protected area. Peeling a disposable sticky mat generates a 20cm (8”) ball of waste each time a mat is ripped up and generate enough waste to fill multiple dumpsters/skips in a single year (average estimates have proven between 8-25 dumpsters). As the surface area of the disposable sticky mat is exposed to contaminated particles, it should be treated as secondary waste which costs more to dispose of safely and also cannot be recycled. It’s Proven Science In tests comparing disposable tacky mats and peel – off mats with Polymeric flooring, there was found to be a much greater reduction in the microbial count for both wheel- and foot contamination after contact with the polymeric flooring compared with that achieved for peel-off sticky mats. Performance of the sticky mats is also greatly reduced with overstrikes. Overstriking occurs when each person stops and takes at least three steps with each foot. To compare, if overstriking on polymeric flooring, a further 90.3% of particles are removed from overshoes. This is compared with an increase of up to 381.9% being deposited back on to the shoes using peel-off mats (Source: Dr Tim Sandle). Imperfect and impractical To achieve an adhesive peel-off mat’s optimum 27% effectiveness they need to be peeled after every use. This is not only annoying and time wasting, but it is also incredibly impractical and hazardous to the areas that you are trying to protect. The use of adhesive peel-off mats also presents a health and safety risk to personnel. The sticky surface often pulls and rips overshoes, cause a severe tripping hazard and wraps around wheels. Sticky mats also cannot allow the three full wheel rotations necessary to decontaminate wheeled traffic. These tacky, disposable mats are also prone to wrapping around wheels of trolleys and carts making it impossible to control cross-contamination in corridors. Crippling Cost Disposable tacky mats and peel-off mats might seem to be the cheapest option at first glance, and this would be appealing for companies and facilities who are looking for a quick fix to think they are saving money. However, when comparing polymeric flooring with peel-off sticky mats. Polymeric flooring not only costs less over the longevity of both products but, most critically it vastly outperforms in terms of the essential selling points that a peel-off sticky mat has to offer. The cost of disposable peel-off mat x 10 (to create the size needed for six footsteps or three full wheel rotations) added to the number of peels per shift multiplied by the number of shifts per day and multiplied again by the days operational per year x 2 (disposable) costs. Time to for you to get out of your Sticky Situation Dycem Contamination Control Floor Mats offer a variety of resolutions that peel-off sticky mats cannot offer. They are manufactured with a patented polymeric compound, creating a natural tack rather than a manufactured adhesive like sticky mats and peel – off mats have, and they are proven to retain up to 99.9% of foot and wheel-borne particles from entering unwanted areas. All of Dycem’s products can be cut to any length or width to produce a large enough surface area to allow 99.9% decontamination of foot and wheel-borne contamination. Dycem is easily integrated into your SOP and can be cleaned as part of your regular floor cleaning schedule. Dycem does not impact on your daily waste volumes and can either be disposed of normally in regular waste or recycled into less critical applications (after its minimum 1-year working life). Tests have proven that when Dycem floor mats are compared against sticky mats, the average percentage reduction values for polymeric flooring were much greater than for peel-off mats for both wheel- and foot-borne contamination. (Here) Dycem Floor Mats are also a washable solution rather than a disposable, peel away resolution. Therefore, cutting the costs and time that waste contamination can add significantly over time and use. For microbial benefit, Biomaster is integrated into all Dycem products. A silver ion-based, anti-microbial addition, it is proven to provide effective and lasting protection on more than 50 different organisms including Salmonella, E. coli, listeria and MRSA, which sticky mats do not offer. Dycem also has room to reduce Electrostatic discharge, due to all options having a surface resistivity of 108 ohms again, a selling point peel-off sticky mats cannot offer.
Contaminated plastic waste is harmful to your environment, therefore by using disposable peel-off mats and plastic overshoes, YOU are harming your environment.The anti-plastic movement is widespread in today’s day and age. Social media, news websites and near enough all modern day advertising remind us of the millions of tons of plastic waste produced yearly across the globe. With about half of the plastic ever manufactured having been produced in the past 15 years, the collaboration of industry in reducing production and improving recycling is increasing in importance. In our daily lives, we are encouraged to make simple swaps such as using reusable coffee cups and supermarkets issuing 83% less plastic bags since charges for these commenced in 2015. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england/single-use-plastic-carrier-bags-charge-data-in-england-for-2016-to-2017) There are many ways to curb plastic waste—by producing less, consuming less, and better managing the waste that already exists to prevent contamination or leakage. But how does this mentality transfer into the workplace – particularly into environments where contaminated waste is prevalent? Contaminated Plastic Waste in the Workplace According to statistics reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 15% of waste generated by health-care activities is considered to be hazardous: infectious, toxic, or radioactive. Contaminated waste contains potentially harmful microorganisms that can infect hospital patients, health workers, and the general public. Other potential hazards may include drug-resistant microorganisms which spread from facilities into the environment the disposal of untreated contaminated waste in landfills can lead to the contamination of drinking, surface, and ground waters if those landfills are not properly constructed. Additionally, to these toxic side effects, open burning and incineration of health care wastes can under some circumstances result in the emission of dioxins, furans and particulate matter. Aside from the environmental impacts of contaminated plastic waste, this can also cause immense problems within the work environment. Lack of awareness about the hazards related to contaminated plastic waste, inadequate training in proper waste management, absence of waste management and disposal systems, insufficient financial and human resources and the low priority given to the topic are the most common problems Waste from Peel-off Mats The hazardous/contaminated waste, coupled with disposal costs created with peel-off mats are not to be ignored. Every peel of a sticky mat results in a 20 cm ball of contaminated plastic waste. With the 20cm ball of waste created when peeling off a mat layer (generating enough waste to fill multiple dumpsters per year), and also being classed as secondary waste, Peel-off mats not only create an abundance of unnecessary waste but are very expensive to dispose of properly at the end its very short working life. Further to the waste and cost implications with the use of peel-off mats, tests show that disposable adhesive peel-off mats are only 27% effective in preventing foot and wheel-borne contamination. The average 2’x4’ sized peel-off mat is too small to decontaminate effectively, and this makes full wheel-borne decontamination almost impossible. This, coupled with the usual placement of only one peel-off mat outside critical areas can be very dangerous. Ganging Peel-off Mats Together Ganging peel-off mats together does address the size issue. However, the practical issues, labour and material costs involved in peeling 8-10 mats several times each shift makes this an expensive option. 10 peel-off mats ganged together means there is a 20% risk of contamination entering a critical area if peeled twice per shift (Source: Mcon). Also, when ganged together, peel-off mats can harbour contaminants in the gaps between them. Particle Build Up The performance of peel-off mats is greatly reduced with overstrikes. With every step, contamination builds up in layers on feet. This buildup of contamination on feet with not be effectively removed after one or a couple of steps on that area. In addition, particles readily transfer back onto footwear, increasing the risk of contamination. Peel-off mats also cannot allow the three full wheel rotations necessary to decontaminate wheeled traffic. These tacky, tearable mats are also prone to wrapping around wheels of trolleys and carts making it impossible to control cross-contamination in corridors. Alongside this they are prone to heavy saturation very quickly, reducing their efficiency in heavy traffic environments. Adhesive from the mats can be transferred onto wheels and tracked into critical environments. Peeling of Mats A study commissioned by a peel-off mat manufacturer highlighted the problem of particle shedding during the rip up process of peel-off mats. The tests revealed that on average, 215,000 particles were released during the rip-up process – releasing hundreds of thousands of particles back into the atmosphere. Single Use Shoe Cover Waste Similarly, the use of multiple pairs of shoe covers, per shift per employee add similar amounts of plastic waste expenditures – not to mention the financial implications for the purchase of shoe covers and costs to the disposal of contaminated waste. Many manufacturers and/or distributors claim good traction, durability, waterproof capabilities and most of all contamination avoidance when selling shoe covers. However, the materials the shoes are produced from (chlorinated polyethene, polypropylene, PVC) all have inherent weaknesses that could create a risk to your critical environment. Potential risks with shoe covers, such as ripping and slipping, will depend on the materials they are made from. Polypropylene (PP) presents several problems in a controlled environment setting. PP is a non-woven material, which means that it can and will shed particles. Furthermore, the highest risk is not necessarily through the usage of the shoes but applying them to feet. Using dirty/unwashed hands bypasses the purpose of having shoe covers and adds contamination to the underside even before entering critical environments. How can Dycem make a difference? Particularly within industries adhering to strict hygiene standards and needing to reduce dust particles within their working environments, common methods of controlling these types of contamination include shoe covers and overshoes. These common contamination control methods such as shoe covers or peel off mats may appear effective however increase your organisation’s plastic waste significantly. Their low initial cost of alternatives may seem attractive, however, when comparing Dycem with peel-off mats and shoe covers, Dycem not only costs less over the longevity of both products but, most critically, Dycem vastly outperforms in terms of size, quality and retention of decontaminants – significantly reducing contamination risks to your business. Dycem can be cut to any length or width to produce a large enough surface area to allow 99.9% decontamination of foot and wheel-borne contamination and is washable. In order to get near comparable performance to Dycem, at least 8-10 peel-off mats, tacky mats or sticky mats need to be ganged together and peeled regularly. Dycem is also seamless, thus avoiding this contaminant trap. When overstriking on Dycem a further 90.3% of particles are removed from overshoes, compared with an increase of up to 381.9% being deposited back on to the shoes using peel-off mats. (Source: Dr Tim Sandle). Cost comparison Peel Off Mats vs. Dycem Peel off Mat Cost Peel-off mat cost x 10 (to create the size of Dycem) + peels per shift x shifts per day x days operation per year x 2 (Redisposal) Costs. Dycem Cost 0 peels required x 2 shifts per day x 7 days per week (12-month replacement contract per pricing matrix). Cost comparison Shoe Covers vs. Dycem Shoe Cover Cost Formula Shoe cover x 2 (= 1 person) x individuals per shift x shifts per day x days operation per year. What also should be considered is time lost putting on and removing overshoes, and the amount of entry and exits per person per day in and out of the environment. Dycem Cost 0 change over required x 2 shifts per day x 7 days per week (12 monthly replacement contract per pricing matrix) The Environmental Benefit of Dycem Dycem is easily integrated into your SOP and can be cleaned as part of your regular floor cleaning schedule. Dycem does not impact on your daily waste volumes and can either be disposed of normally in regular waste or recycled into less critical applications (after its minimum 3-year working life).
Listeria can pose a huge threat to human health and the food production industry. Recalled batches can damage a company’s reputation; reduce consumer trust and ultimately, death for high-risk consumers.