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FAQs PDF Print E-mail



What is Flammability?

Flammability is defined as how easily something will burn or ignite,
causing fire or combustion. Materials can be tested for the degree of
flammability and combustibility in accordance with DIN 4102. DIN 4102. The
following are the categories in order of degree of combustibility as well
as flammability:

A1= 100% noncombustible
A2 = 98% noncombustible
B1= difficult to ignite
B2 = normal combustibility
B3 = easily ignited

( The ratings are as follows:

0 = Materials that will not burn.
1 = Materials that must be preheated before they will ignite.
2 = Materials that must be moderately heated or exposed to relatively high
ambient temperatures before they will ignite.
3 = Liquids and solids that can ignite under almost all temperature
4 = Materials which will rapidly vaporize at atmospheric pressure and
normal temperatures, or are readily dispersed in air and which burn

How to deal with Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick building syndrome can be controlled or eliminated bygreen cleaning and hygiene maintenance,removing the source of the contamination, improving ventilation, and air filtration and purification systems.

What is Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick building syndrome denotes a range of health problems that can include headache, nausea, fever, dizziness, eye or skin irritation, dry cough or fatigue. These symptoms may lessen or disappear when occupants are outside the building.

Sick building syndrome can be caused through exposure to the pollutants inside a home, office or other building and is usually related to poor indoor air quality. Poor ventilation, chemical contaminants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from office machines, carpets and furniture, and biological contaminants like mold, dust mites, bacteria and pollen are all cited as frequent causes of sick building syndrome.

What is Biodegradability?

Biodegradability of a substance is its susceptibility for decomposition by microorganisms and natural environmental factors, to innocuous end products. The relevance of biodegradability pertains more to man-made chemicals, which after their use should be biodegraded, as otherwise they will tend to accumulate in nature to such levels that are harmful to the environment and the ecosystem.

What is Sanitization?

Sanitization is the process of reducing the number of microorganisms to a level that has been officially approved as safe. It is the control bacterial levels in equipment and utensils found in dairies, other food-processing plants, eating and drinking establishments, and other places in which no specific pathogenic microorganisms are targeted.

What is Sterilization?

Sterilization is the process that eliminates (removes) or kills all forms of life, including transmissible agents (such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, spore forms, etc.) present on a surface, contained in a fluid, or in a compound such as biological culture media. Sterilization can be achieved by heat, chemicals, irradiation, high pressure or filtration.

What is Disinfection / Disinfectant?

Disinfection is the elimination or inactivation of disease causing (pathogenic) microorganisms and other harmful microorganisms by physical and chemical means. (Disinfection is less lethal than sterilization, because it destroys most recognized pathogenic microorganisms but not necessarily all microbial forms)

A Disinfectant is a chemical or physical agent employed outside the body for disinfection.

What is the Relationship of Microorganisms to Human Life?

Microorganisms cause various types of diseases in humans (also cause diseases in animals and plants which are of economic importance and source of human food). They can be harmful in other ways also by spoiling food (a critical problem) or articles (leather, wood etc). Fortunately, majority of the varieties of microorganisms are quite harmless and some are even very useful to mankind as source of drugs, fertilizers and bio-pesticides in agriculture, assisting in digestion etc, Their role in maintenance of eco-balance (keeping the pathogens under check) and biodegradation of man-made recalcitrant chemicals is of considerable importance.

What are Microorganisms?

Microorganisms are very small living organisms which are invisible to our eyes. They can be seen only under magnification. Microorganisms were discovered just about 300 years ago (in 1675). They are of different types. Viruses are the smallest (0.05 – 0.2 nm), can be seen by magnification of 400,000 times under an electron microscope. Bacteria, yeast, mold, protozoa, and algae are larger, can be seen by magnification of 2000 times under a light microscope.

What is Sequestrant (Chelater)?

A sequestrant is a chemical which forms a coordination complex with metallic ions in solution so that the usual precipitation reactions of the latter are prevented. Sequestrants (e.g. EDTA, Poly phosphates) are useful in keeping calcium and magnesium ions, which are responsible for hardness of water in solution, so that they do not precipitate detergents and soaps and reduce the latter's effectiveness

What is Scale & Scaling?

The calcium and magnesium ions in hard water tend to form salts and get deposited on surfaces. The deposition is called scale. This occurs under conditions of time and temperature and the process is called scaling.

What is Water Hardness

Hard water is one which has high mineral content (in contrast with soft water). Hard water minerals primarily consist of calcium (Ca2+), and magnesium (Mg2+) cations, and sometimes other dissolved compounds such as bicarbonates and sulfates. The total water 'hardness' (including both Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions) is read as parts per million (ppm) of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the water.

What is Flash Point?

The flash point of a volatile liquid is the lowest temperature at which it can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in air when it is provided with an ignition source. (At the flash point, the vapor may cease to burn when the source of ignition is removed)

What is Viscosity?

Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear stress or tensile stress. Viscosity describes a fluid's internal resistance to flow. All real fluids have some resistance to stress and therefore are viscous.

Viscosity is measured in Viscometers and Rheometers. The Unit of dynamic viscosity is the 'Poise' (P), (named after J. L. M.Poiseuille). It is more commonly expressed, particularly in ASTM standards, as centipoise (cP). Water at 20 °C has a viscosity of 1.0020 cP or 0.001002 kilogram/meter second.

What is Specific Gravity?

Specific gravity is relative density, which is the ratio of the density (mass of a unit volume) of a substance to the density of a given reference material. Specific gravity usually means relative density with respect to water.

If a substance's relative density is less than 1 then it is less dense than the reference; if greater than 1 then it is denser than the reference. If the relative density is exactly 1 then the densities are equal; that is, equal volumes of the two substances have the same mass.

Temperature and pressure must be specified for both the sample and the reference. Specific gravity is commonly used in industry as a simple means of obtaining information about the concentration of solutions of various materials.

What is Density?

Density is the ratio of mass to volume of a substance.

What is Corrosion?

Corrosion is the wearing away of metals due to a chemical reaction. It is the electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen. This type of damage typically produces oxide(s) and/or salt(s) of the original metal (e.g. rusting of iron). Corrosion can also refer to other materials than metals, such as ceramics or polymers, although in this context, the term degradation is more common.

What is a buffer?

A buffer solution maintains its pH value and resists changes in the value when acids or bases are added to it.

What is pH?

pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution, numerically measured in the range of '0 – 14'. At pH 7, a solution will neither be acidic nor alkaline and it will be denoted as neutral. Above 7, the solution will be alkaline, the strength of which increasing in increase of numbers. Below 7, the solution will be acidic with strength increasing with decrease in numbers.

What is a Wetting Agent?

Wetting agent is a chemical substance that increases the spreading and penetrating properties of a liquid by lowering surface tension.

What is an emulsifier?

An emulsifier is a substance that causes the dispersion one ingredient in another in which it would not ordinarily dissolve.

What is a detergent?

Detergent is a cleaning agent, which is usually a synthetic chemical. Soap, obtained by treatment of natural oils and fats with alkali is also a cleaning agent, but it is not referred to as detergent.

What is a surfactant?

A surfactant is a chemical molecule which has a water loving (hydrophilic) part at one end and a fat loving (lipophilic) part at the other end. Surfactants reduce the surface tension between two immiscible substances (e.g. water and oil) so that dispersal of one in the other is achieved. Surfactants have detergent, emulsifying and wetting properties. All these three properties are involved in the cleaning process. Surfactants are thus important ingredients in cleaning formulations.

What is 'Green Seal' Certification

Green Seal is a non-profit, third-party certifier and standards development body in the United States. Since 1989 it has provided independent, objective, science-based guidance to the marketplace and to consumers. Green Seal is the largest US-based ecolabeling organization and meets the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Criteria for Third Party Certifiers, the requirements of ISO 14020 and 14024, and the standards of the Global Ecolabelling Network. Green Seal is the U.S. member of GEN which consists of 26 of the world's leading ecolabeling programs, including Germany's Blue Angel (certification) and the Nordic swan.

A Green Seal Certification Mark on a product means that it has gone through a stringent process to show that it has less impact on the environment and human health. Green Seal takes a life cycle assessment approach, evaluating a product from the raw materials through the manufacturing process and ending with recycling or disposal. Products only become certified after rigorous science-based evaluation, including on-site plant visits. The Green Seal means that the product has passed the tests; that it works as well as or better than others in its class, and that it has been evaluated without bias or conflict of interest.
The Indian equivalent of Green Seal is "Eco mark", which covers close to 16 categories of consumer goods, which however does not yet include the products for cleaning and hygiene maintenance for use at Institutions and Industries.

What is Green Cleaning

Green concepts are centered on conservation and preservation. Conservation is the optimized and judicious use of natural resources and,preservation is protecting the integrity of planet earth. These concepts pervade every aspect of our living, which include our efforts to maintain clean and hygienic environment. Once not considered as so high a priority,cleanliness and hygiene maintenance adopted now by application of science and technology-based principleshas assumed greater importance in the modern world. This involves use of man-made chemicals, procedures,machinery etc., and in all these, green concepts need to be applied, which is (i) by adoption of optimized procedures conserving natural resources and (ii) use of chemicals that are safe for people, animals and environment, being non-toxic, non-mutagenic, non-carcinogenic, non teratogenic, eco-friendly and biodegradable.

Why is the emphasis on green cleaning now? There is insistence to shift immediately to overall green way of life of which green cleaning is just one. This insistence is triggered by the realization, authenticated by observations and scientific data, that the past human activity has indeed been the cause for setting us and our life-support systems into a trend towards disastrous consequences. (Human avarice in exploitation of natural resources, misconceived applications of science and technology causing pollution, creation of dangerous factors harmful to environment and eco-system are but a few examples. Wakefulness has come when man realized that he himself is a victim). There are attempts now to intervene and reverse this trend. Green cleaning, if faithfully adopted would be one small added item of efforts to realize this objective.

Hand Disinfection

 Why should we give greater importance to hand disinfection?

Today, there is higher awareness of the fact that hands play a major role in transmission of infective agents. It is important to use the most effective method because even hands that appear clean (without any visible dirt) may still harbour deadly micro-organisms.

Clean hands are imperative in areas such as food processing, catering and healthcare; and naturally the emphasis is high in infection control and epidemic management. Hence it is important to choose the best method of hand disinfection.

What are the methods of hand disinfection?

Hand disinfectants fall under two categories – water-based and alcohol-based formulations. Disinfecting hands with water, or water and soap is one of the simplest methods & is reasonably effective, provided that microbe-free water is used. There are disadvantages, however – completely pure water is hard to find. Also, even if one uses medicated soap, there is a possibility of re-infection if he washes his hands with unclean water. However, one can take possible precautions by opting for a good brand of soap – manufactured hygienically with microbe-free water.

Alcohol-based disinfectants are more effective, as they disinfect rapidly and thoroughly. They also evaporate fast, leaving no residue. One need not wash his hands after using the disinfectant – eliminating the chance of re-infection with unclean water. Also, alcohol-based formulations that have long-acting chemicals such as quaternary ammonium ensure prolonged protection against re-infection.

What are the typical ingredients in water-based formulations? How effective are they?

Some water-based formulations have phenolic compounds like chloro-xylinol as the chief antiseptic ingredient. These products are used after dilution with water. They may be suitable for sanitisation of rooms, use in bathwater, aftershave rinse, etc. but for wound irrigation and cleaning of cuts, they should be diluted with sterilised (for example, boiled and cooled) water.

Chloro-xylinol has the limitation of low antimicrobial activity. It is known to be less active against gram negative bacteria, among which are some deadly pathogen varieties and many moulds. The chemical's effectiveness against viruses has not been examined adequately. It is also known to be easily inactivated by water hardness and non-ionic detergents.

What are the typical components of alcohol-based disinfectants? How effective are they?

Alcohol-based disinfectants can kill viruses and bacteria almost instantaneously on contact – which clearly makes them the best option for hand disinfection. They can be used for fogging rooms as well. Their germicidal property is based on the denaturation of cell-surface proteins that are involved in the infective process and pathogenesis (e.g.H1N1 virus) and on disruption of cell membrane integrity of microbes.

Most alcohol-based formulations contain isopropanol, n-propanol, ethanol or their combinations. The germicidal property is manifest when alcohol content is 60% to 90%. Alcohols are reported to have excellent germicidal activity against gram positive and gram negative vegetative bacteria, including multi-drug resistant pathogens (e.g. MRSA, VRE) and mycobacterium tuberculosis. Their germicidal effect against lipid enveloped viruses (influenza viruses, HIV, herpes simplex virus, vaccinia virus) has been well established. Though alcohols are not sporicidal, they prevent germination of spores.

Alcohol-based disinfectants are more effective than water-based formulations and can be used for a wide range of disinfection purposes.