Guest: Irwin Stromeyer
Presenter: Neal Howard
Overview: Irwin Stromeyer, Owner of Sterile Space Infection Defense, shines a light on the crucial need to eradicate germs in public places.
Sterile Space Infection Defense offers a broad range of infection control services. They include on-site decontamination services with their Mobile Ultrasonic Decontamination Laboratory. This very unique vehicle is used to remove biological, organic and inorganic contamination. The main service is terminal disinfection and long-term antimicrobial coating. Also offered is an Urgent Response Disinfection Service and a new service of carpet disinfection with specialized light technology. Sterile Space provides unique solutions that provide a safe environment for homeowners and businesses, from infants to the elderly with infection prevention, control and eradication services.
For more information about Sterile Space and its services, contact by phone at 973-714-8288 or visit www.sterilespace.com.
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Business Radio talkers.fm. I’m your host Neal Howard, glad that you could join us once again. I’m going to have a conversation with Mr. Irwin Stromeyer, he’s the owner of Sterile Space: Infection Defense LLC and he’s going to talk with us today about his unique industry of public infection and germ control. Welcome to the program Irwin.
Irwin Stromeyer: Thank you.
Neal: Well I’m glad you could take the time. Now for our listeners who may be unfamiliar with the industry of public infection control, give us a little bit of a background and explain about your services.
Irwin: Okay. Well normally people are familiar with the term of infection control as it relates to healthcare facilities like hospitals. Public infection control is, in essence, doing the same thing but outside of a medical facility and infection control in normal terms is basically keeping a facility decontaminated, disinfected and in our case anti-microbially treated so that the surfaces in that facility can have the ability to kill newly deposited microbes.
Neal: So are we talking strictly healthcare facilities, not hospitals or any place where people are in and out?
Irwin: Any place where people congregate. An example, one of our biggest markets is the child care center market where in the working families drop their younger children off therefore during the day and educated prior to going into a formal school system. Those kids are and the teachers and anybody who walks in there are bringing in microbes every day and as they touch and handle thing those microbes are transferred from one set of hands to another and in the hands that they’re transferred to touch the eyes, nose or mouth of that person – they have given the best possible entry point for those infections to get into somebody’s system and start to work at making them sick.
Neal: So your business can cover any place from as you say daycares, hospitals. What about EMS departments, fire departments those places as well?
Irwin: We can we can service pretty much any facility. We have been trying to work with ambulance companies. We’ve been working with child care, we have done martial arts studios, we’ve done restaurants, I’d love to do movie theaters, God knows those places are really interested with germs. But basically anywhere the public goes where they congregate, okay, which could be office buildings or it could be the gym, for a corporation in their corporate office building, it could be their conference rooms, it could be their employee break rooms – that’s a place where a lot of stuff gets caught in the break room. And what we principally work against is an issue called cross-contamination infection and I will give you a very simple scenario for that: You and I work in the same office one of my kids came home from school, spread a cold or the flu around the house. Me, my wife, my other children have it. I come to the office where both of us work I have touched the doorknobs or the pull and push handles on the doors, I’ve touched light switches, I touched coffee pot and the refrigerator in the employee break room. I have touched the surfaces around the offices and in the bathrooms. You come in half an hour later, you pick up the coffee pot, you pour yourself a cup of coffee, you reach into the refrigerator for some milk or cream, you put that in then you go back to your desk. Five minutes later your eye issues a little bit so you take your hand and you rub the corner of your eye or maybe you sneezed and you’re just wiping up around your nose and you touch just around the inside of the opening of your nose or maybe you’re eating something and you take a little something that you found on your tongue off your tongue. What you’ve done is you’ve transported the germs that I had which I left on the coffee pot and on the refrigerator and you now transferred them into your body by picking them up by touching the surfaces I touched. Once they get into what is called a friendly environment for germs and a friendly environment for germs is a friendly surface, warm humidity and a food supply – those microbes start to replicate or divide into more microbes. I will give an example, something like e.coli which is prevalent in childcare centers replicates, a cell replicates about every 20 minutes. So in seven hours one cell in the right environment can become over two million cells.
Neal: It’s scary and we hear all of the time that well to be safe, simply wash your hands. We go into the restrooms and we see employees must wash hands before returning to work. That’s in any health facility. So we’re washing our hands, but we’re still carrying and transferring these microbes?
Irwin: Oh yes, absolutely. Every time you touch a surface, you leave the microbes on your fingertips or your hands behind. But it’s a fair exchange, you get to take God knows how many other people’s germs with you. That’s the kind of exchange we really don’t want.
Neal: I’m thinking right now of an airport. I mean that’s a place where every type of person, child, young, old, everybody’s there, they’re from other people’s workplaces. Is your facility one that can actually treat a place as large and as busy as an airport maybe a local or an international one?
Irwin: Yes we can, it’s not a problem. The only problem we run into and I’ve run into this more than enough times, is that either the airlines that are occupying a particular terminal space don’t want to pay for such a service or the airport itself doesn’t want to pay for such a service only because when you’re talking about that kind of square footage it does get expensive. The other thing is as your listeners may or may not want to hear, the two most contaminated parts of an a airport are the chairs at the gate where people are waiting to get on the plane and the carpeting in that area that their children are rolling around on and one of the things about carpeting that most people don’t know and you can absolutely look this up on like 20 different websites including National Institute for Health and the CDC, is that the average square inch of carpeting in someone’s home – not even a high-traffic public place like an airport – a square inch of carpet has approximately 200,000 bacteria. One square inch – not a 10 by 10 room – one square inch now if you take that and you think about how many thousands of people walk through that gate area just a one day every 24 hours, I would wrap my kids in cellophane. Unbelievable.
Neal: We hear every winter, flu this, flu that, it’s the flu season. Is there actually a flu season with that type of activity going on year-round or is flu season all year?
Irwin: The flu season is actually year-round. The reason they give it a seasonal title is because in the colder weather especially here in the north, northeast or the northern states, we have something that is called ‘winter.’ And most people are not outside in winter, they’re inside, they may not go out for lunches often or they may have their children, they they obviously may not go out to play outside as often and when you’re talking about a place where there’s a large congregation like a childcare facility or a gym or a movie theater or anything like that – because
people don’t want to be out in the cold, you’re in much closer proximity and chances are a greater number of them are already sick so they’re spreading exponentially more germs than in the warmer months but you can have the flu or a cold or almost anything anytime during the year.
Neal: What is it that sets your company apart from other companies that may be like yours and are you ever confused with being a janitorial service?
Irwin: More times than I care to think about. When I usually call to do a telephone introduction, most people will cut me off about halfway through my second sentence and say “We already have a janitorial service, thank you anyway.” Click. And then I have to call them back to say, “Wait we’re not a janitorial service. We’re not a cleaning firm, We’re an infection prevention control and eradication service which means we only go after the germs.” We’re not there to clean up, paint or something else that fell on the floor. We don’t wax floors, we don’t strip them, we don’t the garbage cans – we’re in infection prevention control eradication company. So when we come in if they’ve already had their cleaning service do at least a decent cleaning, then we can do our job of doing a terminal disinfection of all of the high-frequency touchpoints which would include things like door handles, light switches, telephones, computers, countertop, refrigerators, microwaves, sink, toilet, toilet flush valves, sink valves – all that kind of stuff and then the real difference comes in the next step. We apply what is called a long-term antimicrobial coating. Now when we spray that coating, it’s formulated in such a way that it forms what is called a covalent bond between the solution and the surface it lands on. Now if you remember your high school chemistry, a covalent bond is a molecular bond which is the strongest bond in nature. It’s what holds your telephone together, it’s what holds your body together, it’s what holds your office building together. If it were not for covalent bond, everything would just be dust. So what happens is when we apply it to the surface and it bonds and dries in about a 15, 20 minutes or so it now formed a barrier that will last at least one year on that surface and if you could see the coating on a microscopic level, it would look like millions of little molecular swords sticking up. Or if you wanted to create the vision in a larger format, imagine putting old-fashioned push thumbtacks on your desk, on their back so the points are pointing up. Now if you were to take some balloons and blow them up, different colored balloons and write influenzae on one and MRSA on another and Coxsackie on another and whatever diseases you want and throw them up in the air over your desk. When they come down and land on the tacks, what’s going to happen?
Irwin: Right. So if you could imagine on a microscopic level seeing a surface covered with a zillions of these little microscopic swords, the microbe comes down on it, it gets impaled and then as it comes down the molecular chain, it hits a nitrogen atom which has the opposing electrical charge to what’s normally found in nature. So in essence, it would be like me coming to your house for Thanksgiving, taking the turkey carving knife off the tray, wrapping a wire around the handle, plugging it into the wall, thrusting it into your chest. Either way you’re going to die because you’re either going to hemorrhage to death from being impaled or you’re going to die from being electrocuted to death but either way you’re dead. And the really nice part about this type of an antimicrobial is it’s not a chemical kill, it’s a physical kill so it doesn’t matter what the cell is infected with or what type of infectious cell it is, whether it’s an e.coli or whether it’s a cell that is infected let’s say with a certain type of virus. Because the virus only activates once it’s within a cell but if you kill the host, you kill the invader.
Neal: So this bond just to be clear, persists and is maintained after the actual janitorial service comes in and wipes these surfaces down over the course of that year?
Irwin: Yes, the only way it really comes off according to the manufacturer of the coating and we are not the manufacturer of the coating, but this is the coating we use is long-term friction abrasion which means the handling of a surface over a long period of time. I think initially they told me it will last on an unmolested surface for up to 10 years. I haven’t been able to find an unmolested surface except for maybe a ceiling that nobody walks on the ceiling. But the nice thing is that as you touch surfaces that are protected and the microbes you leave behind, the vast majority of them are eradicated very quickly. Now we’ve noticed over the last six years of doing this, we test constantly to enforce our own warranty for the year that the coating is on a surface, we come back and we test the level of something called the ATP or adenosine triphosphate which is in every cell. It’s the enzyme, it’s like the battery of light in every cell, plant, animal and human. So once we coat the surface, presuming surface was virgin clean because it we put bond to the actual material and not something that dried on the surface of the material – once we’ve applied it, when we come back to test and this is specifically we test which I won’t get involved in because it’s very long-winded but we test the surfaces right then and there with a meter that gives us an immediate reading in 15 seconds. And as long as that reading is less than 80 on the meter, it means the surface is still viable protected by the coating.
Neal: Well it sounds groundbreaking and I can’t see anyone not wanting that type of protection for their facility whether it’s healthcare or otherwise. Where can our listeners get in touch with you online and/or on the telephone?
Irwin: Okay. Well they can go to Sterile Space Inspection Defense which is www.sterilespace.com or they can call my office at 973 714 8288 or they can email me at [email protected] and the one thing I want to let your listeners know is that over the years, we put together a very interesting ebook which is free. Just go to the website and look on the right side and it’s called ‘Is your School Making your Students Sick?’ And you can download that free report, it talks about a lot of statistical information on getting sick and how to properly do your own decontamination within your own facility. There’s certain methods and techniques that are far better than just spraying a cleaner on a surface and rubbing a rag in a circle. So if they go to the website it’s sterilespace.com, they can download this free report and they can learn a lot from it. They can call us, we’re more than happy to come out and do a complimentary surface evaluation with that specialized meter and give a proposal. We offer zero interest payment plan and basically if you Google Sterile Space Infection defense and then look at all
the reviews on Google you’ll find that our clients only give us five-star reviews and that’s because the services we provide work. The antimicrobial coating surface is fantastic but don’t forget, people still get sick from time to time and far far less frequently than by cross contamination infection, by direct contact. You pick up a call because somebody sneezed in your face and you happen to inhale at the right time, okay, that’s called direct infection. We offer what is called the urgent response disinfection service where you don’t have to be a client. You call us up, you say “Hey I’ve got 15 people in my computer processing department that are out sick.” Or “I’ve got two classrooms with the children that half of them are out sick.” We will show up at the end of business that day and we will spray a chemical disinfectant on everything, presuming that it who was the one responsible for the janitorial has already wiped the surfaces out, right, and we will spray it with a terminal disinfectant. And by the next morning pretty much everything in there is no longer a threat.
Neal: Well Irwin I appreciate you coming on the show today. It sounds like much-needed service and I’m glad that you could join us here on Business Radio talkers.fm
Irwin: I thank you for having me and all I can say is that if you feel you want to share more of our information with your listeners, feel free to call me any time.
Neal: You’ve been listening to Business Radio talkers.fm, I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio are available at talkers.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and listen in and download at SoundCloud.