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Advancing Social Well-Being Through Effective Hand Hygiene

 March 2011 issue of the Journal of Environmental Health

GOJO combines great passion for our Purpose, saving lives and making life better through well-being solutions, with scientific exploration and discovery in hand hygiene and skin care. This leads to positive outcomes that make a difference in a person's life.

Here's just one example of how scientific ingenuity and the GOJO commitment to social sustainability resulted in advancements that help protect the health of the customers we serve:

The Fight Against Bulk Soap Contamination 

Bulk Soap Contamination Imagine using soap that actually spreads more germs than it kills. That's the situation some restroom users face every day, although most know nothing about it. 

As reported in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers including Dr. Charles Gerba at the University of Arizona found that liquid soap in public restrooms from bulk refillable dispensers is frequently contaminated at levels that are much higher than the maximum recommended levels.
And a study documented in the May 2011 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology showed that users of bulk soap risk picking up disease-causing microbes from the contaminated soap – and passing them along. 
The proof is in: bulk soap dispensers in public restrooms and shower facilities – those in which refill soap is poured into a reservoir – pose an unnecessary public health risk. 
In our position of industry leadership and in pursuit of greater social sustainability results, GOJO took early action. The company confronted the health risk of bulk soaps through the development and introduction of GOJO SANITARY SEALED™ soap refills. 
Sanitary Sealed GOJO SANITARY SEALED refills are factory-sealed to lock out germs, preserving the integrity and effectiveness of your hand hygiene products. Each recyclable refill comes with its own fresh dispensing nozzle and snaps in place for quick and easy maintenance.



Social Sustainability from Laboratory to the Real World

GOJO routinely sponsors scientific research to improve quality of life and reduce risks to well-being. Below are a few examples of studies commissioned to advance the public knowledge of skin care and hand hygiene-and to combat infection at home, at work or on the go. Click on the links below each excerpt to read the full clinical study.

Reducing Infection Rates in Healthcare

Reducing Absenteeism in Schools and Colleges Improved Skin Condition in Harsh Environments Prone to Dermatitis Reducing Illness and Absenteeism in Military Settings

Reducing Infection Rates in Healthcare


Study: The impact of alcohol hand sanitizer use on infection rates in an extended care facility
Results:
Comparison of the infection types and rates for the units where hand sanitizer was used with those for the control units where the hand sanitizer was not used showed a 30.4% decrease in infection rates for the 34-month period in the units where hand sanitizer was used.
Conclusion: This study indicates that use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer can decrease infection rates and provide an additional tool for an effective infection control program.
Reference: AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control. 30(4):226-233, June 2002. Fendler, E. J. PhD a; Ali, Y. PhD a; Hammond, B. S. a; Lyons, M. K. BSN, RN b; Kelley, M. B. CRRN b; Vowell, N. A. RN b


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Study: Use of alcohol hand sanitizer as an infection control strategy in an acute care facility
Results:
Infection types and rates for the unit during the period the alcohol hand sanitizer (intervention) was used were compared with the infection types and rates for the same unit when the alcohol hand sanitizer was not used (baseline); the results demonstrated a 36.1% decrease in infection rates for the 10-month period that the alcohol hand sanitizer was used.
Conclusion: This study indicates that use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer can decrease infection rates and provide an additional tool for an effective infection control program in acute care facilities. (Am J Infect Control 2003;31:109-16.)
Reference: AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control. 31(2):109-116, April 2003. Hilburn, Jessica MT (ASCP), CIC a; Hammond, Brian S. b; Fendler, Eleanor J. PhD b; Groziak, Patricia A. MS b

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Reducing Absenteeism in Schools and Colleges

Study: Effect of hand sanitizer use on elementary school absenteeism.
Results:
The overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection in the schools included in this study was 19.8% for schools that used an alcohol gel hand sanitizer compared with the control schools.
Conclusion: Elementary school absenteeism due to infection is significantly reduced when an alcohol gel hand sanitizer is used in the classroom as part of a hand hygiene program. Reference: AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control. 28(5):340-346, October 2000. Hammond, Brian a; Ali, Yusuf PhD a; Fendler, Eleanor PhD a; Dolan, Michael a; Donovan, Sandra RN, MSN b


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Study: The effect of a comprehensive handwashing program on absenteeism in elementary schools.
Results: The number of absences was 50.6% lower in test groups of elementary school students. A total of 290 students from five independent schools were enrolled in the study. Each test classroom had a control classroom, and only the test classroom received the intervention—hand hygiene education and a hand sanitizer. Absenteeism data was collected for 3 months.
Conclusion: The data strongly suggests that a hand hygiene program that combines education and use of a hand sanitizer in the classroom can lower absenteeism and be cost-effective. Reference: AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control. 30(4):217-220, June 2002. Guinan, Maryellen a,b; McGuckin, Maryanne Dr ScEd, MT (ASCP) c; Ali, Yusef PhD d

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Study: The effect of hand hygiene on illness rate among students in university residence halls.
Results: The overall increase in hand hygiene behavior and reduction in symptoms, illness rates, and absenteeism between the product group and control group was statistically significant. Reductions in upper respiratory illness symptoms ranged from 14.8% to 39.9%. Total improvement in illness rate was 20%. The product group had 43% fewer missed school/work days.
Conclusion: Hand hygiene practices were improved with increased frequency of handwashing through increasing awareness of the importance of hand hygiene, and the use of alcohol gel hand sanitizer in university dormitories. This resulted in fewer upper respiratory illness symptoms, lower illness rates and lower absenteeism.
Reference: AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control. 31(6):364-370, October 2003. White, Cindy PhD a; Kolble, Robin BSN a; Carlson, Rebecca MSN a; Lipson, Natasha BA a; Dolan, Mike BS b; Ali, Yusuf PhD b; Cline, Mojee PhD b*

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Improved Skin Condition in Harsh Environments Prone to Dermatitis



Study: Effectiveness of a hand care regimen with moisturizer in manufacturing facilities where workers are prone to occupational irritant dermatitis
Results: Comparison of the change in the skin condition of workers using the full hand care regimen with moisturizer versus a control group using a regimen without moisturizer demonstrated significant improvements in multiple measures after 1 to 2 weeks. Corneometer readings consistently showed significant improvement for employees using moisturizer, regardless of their work location.
Conclusion: Improved skin condition resulted from the regular use of an effective skin conditioning hand moisturizer as part of a skin care regimen in work environments in which workers were prone to experiencing occupational irritant contact dermatitis.
Reference: Arbogast JW - Dermatitis - 01-MAR-2004; 15(1): 10-7

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Reducing Illness and Absenteeism in Military Settings

Study: Alcohol-based Instant hand sanitizer use in military settings - a prospective cohort study of army basic trainees.
Results: When compared to the control group, intervention groups experienced 40% less respiratory illness), 48% less gastrointestinal illness, 44% less lost training time, and 31% fewer health care encounters.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that this intervention is capable of significantly reducing illness in this setting and has the potential to help reduce absenteeism in the military workforce as a whole.
Reference: Military Medicine, Volume 172, Number 11, November 2007 , pp. 1170-1176(7)

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