John Downey & The Z-man – The CIRI Science Symposium; What You Missed! – Part 1

Air Date: 7-19-2019|Episode 554

Today on IAQ Radio+ Radio Joe will interview John Downey and the Z-man for their overview of key points from each speaker at this weeks ClRI conference. We also expect the Restoration Global Watchdog, Pete Consigli to join us for the roundup.


Cleanfax did a nice job summarizing the event:
“The annual Cleaning Industry Research Institute(CIRI) Science Symposium concluded Wednesday after two days of intense discussions and presentations outlining the critical nature of protecting health with the science of cleaning. Held at Miami University in Oxford, OH, the conference featured researchers, educators, trainers, and consultants who spoke to a packed room of more than 50 seasoned cleaning and restoration professionals.
The conference, produced by John Downey, the executive director of CIRI, and Steven Spivak, PhD, the chair of the Science Advisory Council (SAC) of CIRI, began Tuesday morning with a keynote address delivered by Dr. Greg Whiteley, “Anticipating Threats to Human Health.”
That keynote address kicked off a slate of 21 “laser-focused, lightning presentations,” as coined by Dr. Spivak, along with six Q&A sessions peppered throughout the conference. A highlight of the event was an impassioned dinner speech by CIRI Chairman Jim Harris, Sr. He surprised attendees with some blunt comments on changing the industry for the better.
One component that made this a unique event was the peer review process for the presentations. Several were based on original research, including studies conducted specifically for the symposium.
“The CIRI Science Symposium is one huge piece of the puzzle of partnering science and cleaning,” Downey said. “CIRI is growing and the support we are receiving is encouraging. I’m sure we will see positive, measurable improvements in the industry, protecting health of all building occupants globally.”
Z-Man’s Blog:

CIRI is the clearinghouse for unbiased, peer-reviewed technical information and research about the science of cleaning or restoration of the indoor environment. Working with and through its members, CIRI communicates unbiased, peer-reviewed technical information and research about the science of cleaning or restoration of the indoor environment to all interested stakeholders.

Nuggets mined from today’s show:

Joe Hughes: From CIRI’s perspective, what is the organization’s role in the industry?

John Downey: CIRI is the only nonprofit C3 dedicated to doing research and promulgating science to the industry. Providing information not available elsewhere to its 3  membership categories: researchers, instructors and trade associations. CIRI aspires to reach industries by partnering with trade associations. Trade associations are the conduit for getting CIRI’s info to association members.  

Z-Man: Please describe and contrast the format with other meetings?

John Downey: It was Steve Spivak’s idea to have “lightning presentations” a series of lively, narrowly focused 15 minute presentations, tied to a theme.

Some general observations:

  • The venue was great, a small conference center on the campus of Miami University of Ohio.
  • Small intimate group 50-60 people. Quality, not quantity. Diversity: academics, manufacturers (P&G), restorers, building maintenance contractors, IEPs, etc.
  • Very professionally run and coordinated. The meetings: started, kept-on and finished on time.
  • Global attendees from across the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Japan. (through a generous gift, CIRI provided a translator for the Japanese attendee).
  • Master of ceremonies- Steve Spivak was gracious and diplomatic.
  • Moderators- Ralph Moon, Pete Consigli and John Downey were very well prepared.
  • Shotgun style- with the exception of the keynote, all presentations had a 15 time limit. Questions held till all presenters in the session presented.

Keynote- Old Friends, New Threats, Biofilms and Now Come the Superbugs by: Greg Whiteley

Z-Man’s Takeaways: Soil and biofilms are not the same. Biofilm is a constructed community of bacteria. Bacteria communicate within biofilms. Enzyme cleaners, the dominant product in medical cleaning, do not remove deeper bacterial colonization. Biofilms can’t be easily wiped away. Genetic tracing and tracking will open-up litigation, with proof of where infection occurred.

John Downey’s Additions: Background on Greg. Greg is a chemical manufacturer (cleaners and antimicrobials) and PhD level scientist whose theory is we all benefit from gathering and sharing good research and data.

Session 1: Threats to Human Health (Infection Control, Pathogens, Exposures and the Human Microbiome)

Richard Shaughnessy’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: Scandinavia has a culture of clean. Historically ASHRAE ventilation rates have been based on odor control. Increasing outdoor air increases student performance. Opening windows doesn’t always provide fresh air. Surfaces in schools re-equilibrate microbial load within 2 days after cleaning. Teacher participation in maintaining cleanliness improves results.

John Downey’s Additions: Richard Shaughnessy is conducting a study of the relationship between cleaning school desks has on student absence.

Andrew Maier’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: It’s commonly reported in media that cleaning products and processes cause asthma. This doesn’t mean it’s true. Don’t know if it’s the products or the processes? A study of exposure versus cleaning effectiveness was done with home healthcare workers using ammonia and acetic acid based cleaners. Don’t know if it’s: products, processes or cleaning hypothesis that cause asthma or if human resistance has been lowered because things are to clean.

John Downey’s Additions: Andrew Maier’s participation in the symposium was obtained through CIRI outreach to the University of Cincinnati.

David Harry’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: The string mop invented in 1893. Modern mopping SOP was mop 3 rooms with 3 gallons of water. The floor is the largest organism in a hospital. Floors have both resident and transient bacteria. Hospitals routinely give nonslip socks to patients. The socks become fomites. Cleveland hospital study showed that 85% of nonslip socks have VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci). 90% of socks have MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). 35% of mops retain microbial contamination after laundering. There is cross contamination among hospitals due to outsourced commercial laundries combining customers laundry. Some microfibers will neutralize disinfectants-quats and bleach. A cradle to grave study demonstrated disposable mops are better for the environment.

John Downey’s Additions: Microfiber effectively capture and remove soils and microbes which is why they are difficult to clean. Disposable microfiber mops and cleaning clothes are currently in use.

Panel moderated by Greg Whiteley

Session 2: Down and Dirty Research to Practice, Practice to Research

John Richter’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: Wanted to determine whether cleaning hard surface floors with recycled solutions is feasible and how many times solutions can be reused before cleaning effectiveness is reduced below acceptable standards. Studied the use of recycled cleaning solution /run through 100 micron filter water for floor cleaning on low risk surfaces.

John Downey’s Additions: Cleaning with recycled solution reduces labor and saves time.

Michael Pinto’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: Michael’s premise is that surfaces are either clean or they aren’t. He used a case study to demonstrate the feasibility of remediating fungal contaminated commercial carpet.

John Downey’s Additions: Cleaning microbial impacted carpet is not prohibited by industry standards.

Gene Cole’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: 67,000 facilities serve 9MM residents of which 90% are 65 years old+  The elder population has higher susceptibility to disease. Facilities are killing patients with lack of infection control measures. Questions regarding patient’s demise aren’t asked. Little or no decontamination between residents of rooms. There are no published standards protocols for cleaning.

John Downey’s Additions: Gene pointed out the obvious which is commonly overlooked.

Cliff Zlotnik’s Presentation-

Z-man’s Takeaway: It was both intimidating and an honor to prepare a paper for publication in the CIRI Cleaning Science Quarterly and present the findings at the CIRI Symposium. The presentation demonstrated a practical method to test the odor barrier properties of smoke sealers.

Panel moderated by Ralph Moon

Session 3: Practical and effective uses of measurements of cleaning effectiveness

Peter Edelstein’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: Peter is a commercial carpet cleaner from Brazil. He was an early adopter of ATP to demonstrate cleanliness to high profile commercial clients. (Apple, Amazon, Samsung, etc.) His client’s want a cleanliness number. He guarantees 75% improvement in cleanliness of carpets. ATP readings: Average carpet reading before cleaning 179, average reading after cleaning 19.

Kris Rzesnoski’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: IAQradio has been concerned about odor removal claims made by the manufacturers of hydroxyl radical generators. Chris is a disaster restorer from Canada. He told a tale of 2 homes in which oxidizers hydroxyls radicals and/or ozone were used to deodorize following fires. Reactions occurred in houses making them uninhabitable for owners. Claims went from $100K each to >$1MM each.

Jeff Merihew’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: Jeff told the tale of adoption of ATP measuring into his firm’s commercial contract cleaning business. Confusion occurred during implementation. Some staff wanted to measure everything, some didn’t want to measure anything. High expectations, slow implementation.

John Downey’s Additions: The firm lost an account when a customer (a hospital) purchased an ATP system and sampled larger surface areas resulting in higher counts.

Andrew Maier’s Presentation-

Z-Man’s Takeaways: GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice in pharmaceutical plants requires validated cleaning processes. Formerly done with wipe tests, now a risk based calculation is required. Concerns over residues from cleaning products, active ingredients and incipients cross contaminating other products made with same equipment.

Based upon a formula: margin of safety= (point of departure/adjustment factor) /exposure.

Panel moderator Pete Consigli

Z-Man signing off

Trivia Question:

Name the publisher whose idea it was to have a cleaning research organization which resulted in the founding of CIRI?

Trivia Answer:

Humphrey Tyler

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