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Posted: August 21, 2007

Nanotechnology Neckties Help Reduce The Spread Of Infectious Diseases

(Nanowerk News) Today's Nanowerk Spotlight is heavy stuff, so to help your brain cells recover, here's a news item on a lighter note:
April Strider, co-founder of SafeSmart, Inc., created the SafetyTies antimicrobial neckties with the goal of reducing the spread of infectious disease and foodborne illnesses in healthcare, hospitality and foodservice settings. Now independent testing performed at BCS Laboratories, Inc. in Gainesville, Fla. proves that Strider's ties live up to those expectations.
Although neckties promote an image of competence and professionalism in both the healthcare and hospitality industries, it is extremely easy for the ties to come into contact with food, patients or hospital bedding, thereby picking up infectious bacteria. In fact, a study presented by Dr. Steven Nurkin at the American Society for Microbiology's May 2004 conference found that doctors' neckties were eight times more likely to carry bacteria and spread infections than ties worn by hospital workers who did not have contact with patients.
When BCS submitted SafetyTies to microbiological challenge experiments, the ties' nanotechnology-treated material repelled bacterial contamination. In the tests, SafetyTies inoculated with E. coli and Salmonella showed a greater than 99.99 percent reduction in bacterial growth, as compared to regular 100% silk neckties.
SafetyTies also underwent a bacterial challenge with gram-positive bacilli. The ties' nano-treated silk fibers repelled 98 percent of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and 99.5 percent of vancomycin-resistant enterococci, both hospital-associated infections.
The Nurkin study found that one in four neckties worn by hospital doctors carried Staphylococcus aureus. One in eight harbored hospital-acquired bacteria, such as Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii, and 47.6 percent harbored potential pathogens.
According to hospitalinfection.org, infections contracted in hospitals are the fourth largest killer in America. Every year, two million patients contract infections in hospitals and an estimated 103,000 die. "This is not a minor issue," said Strider.
"The spread of contamination is also prevalent in the foodservice and hospitality industries," said Strider. "The CDC estimates that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Neckties tend to be an overlooked vector in the effort to protect patients, guests or employees. The anti-microbial properties of SafetyTies address that oversight."
While SafetyTies are of great benefit to individuals in the healthcare and hospitality industry, the neckties also have a broad appeal to the general public, in particular for their stain-resistance and water repellency. "We have found SafetyTies appeal to a wide range of professions, from educators to business professionals; most people really appreciate having an all-around more durable, longer-lasting necktie," said Strider.
SafetyTies neckties are 100 percent silk, are stain- and wrinkle-resistant, can be dry cleaned and repel liquids like coffee, water and wine. Testing also showed that SafetyTies are completely safe for wearers, because the nanotechnology coating stays on the necktie instead of transferring to any other surfaces.
Source: SafeSmart (hat tip to George Elvin over at the Green Technology Forum for digging this up)