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Yellow or White, Don't Eat the Snow

1/21/16 10:22 AM

You have heard it a million times before “don’t eat the yellow snow,” this is a good suggestion, you shouldn’t eat yellow snow, but in truth, you shouldn’t be eating the white stuff either.

Air pollution particles are carried and stored in snowflakes, meaning that ingesting the white snow can be bad for your health, according to a study published last month in the journal Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts.

“The concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes increased from near the detection limit, indicating the abruption of exhaust-derived organic compounds by snow” stated the researchers from McGill University in Montreal.  When the particles, known as carcinogens, leave the exhaust cooler system and hit the colder air and snowy environment, certain sizes of the particulate matter will be absorbed and remain in the snow.

The study also stated that the alteration of aerosol size distributions from vehicle exhaust at freezing temperatures, accompanied by changes of organic pollutant content in the snow, has potential to alter health effects.

Air pollution still has a threat to human health; it is one of the biggest and most widespread health threats in the world. The World Health Organization citing it as a factor in the development of cancer, heart attacks, and strokes. Air pollution causes more than 4,000 deaths daily in China alone.

With strengthening emissions regulations, many producers are now required to monitor the amount of pollution they are putting into the air, in an effort to reduce the total amount. To learn more about MadgeTech air pollution data loggers, and how they are used to prevent health risk due to air quality, click here.

At least 250 people, mostly in the U.S. were sickened with a life threatening “Superbug” infection[MO1] , linked to contaminated medical scopes in the past three years. More than 25 outbreaks of patient infections were tied to the contaminated medical devices called duodenoscopes in 4 countries and 10 US states between 2012 and early 2015.

It was reported last year by the FDA that the medical devices from Olympus Corp and other manufacturers were linked to 142 patient infections. All of this could have been avoided if these devices had undergone proper sterilization.

Last January, the case was called for a review following the outbreak of the antibiotic resistant infection that was tied to medical devices at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. The devices that were contaminated were being used to treat conditions of the pancreas and bile duct. At least 32 patients at Virginia Mason contracted the infections in 2013. Eleven of those patients later died, although it remains unclear if those deaths were directly caused by the infection. Again in August, the public health authorities were notified that several patients who had procedures using Olympus Corp medical devices were found to have the same bacteria.

Patients should be able to trust medical offices and facilities, and feel confident that devices being used have undergone proper sanitation and sterilization procedures to prevent the spread of infection.

In order to deplete bacteria found on medical devices, sterilization is a must. Depending on the product, different methods of sterilization will be used including EtO sterilization, steam sterilization, or depyrogenation.  These sterilization processes are mandated to achieve and document very specific temperature versus time exposure in order to be effective. MadgeTech offers monitoring solutions tailored for each sterilization method, providing reassurance and validation that devices have been properly sterilized and are safe for use. 

The sterilization of medical devices is a sensitive and critical application, and if done improperly could end tragically through the spread of bacteria and infection.

To learn more about MadgeTech sterilization data loggers click here.

 [MO1]Link to superbug blog post

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