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Water conscious: Plumbing fixtures that promote safety and efficiency


Vendors are paying special attention to water containment to prevent the spread of bacteria. A number of vendors offer hand-washing sinks for hospital staff — and the public — with features to keep the water contained. And they have good reason to make the effort. Jeremy Cressman, vice president, commercial trade, American Standard Brands, Piscataway, N.J., points to a study conducted at University of Toronto’s health system, detailing the spread of bacteria due to the splashing in hand-washing sinks.

The study, published in the January 2009 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, showed that drain contents splashed at least one meter from the sink, infecting 36 intensive care and transplant patients with drug-resistant bacteria. Seventeen of those patients died within three months, and bacteria contributed to or caused the death of 12 of the patients, according to the study.

The solution to the outbreak occurred only when the sinks were renovated to prevent splashing. The Facility Guidelines Institute’s Healthcare Guidelines Revision Committee incorporated findings from the Toronto study when it created its 2010 requirements for hand-washing sinks used in new construction.

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