Written by ICP Group

Addressing Hygiene Theater & Microbial Surface Efficacy

Surface Hygiene: Epidemic & Pandemic (S.H.E.P.) Blog – Post 2 of 4

Blog Post 2 of a 4-part series. Click here to view Part 1: Protect Your People and Facilities: Before, During & Post-Pandemic.

Even though the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic is stabilizing in some areas, with the threat of variant strains spreading (such as the Delta and Mu variants) and lack of herd immunity, there is still a very real need for ongoing surface cleaning and disinfection. The accusation that certain entities are engaging in highly visible “disinfection theater” is valid. Overproduced video of targetless spraying of undisclosed chemicals labeled as disinfectants or sanitizers into airplane cabins, hotel rooms, subways, and classrooms is not helpful. This type of activity, whether overzealous or designed for advertising purposes, is wasteful, potentially hazardous, and will not accomplish SARS-CoV-2 reduction on surfaces.

At ICP we have consistently maintained that disinfectants and antimicrobials are tools in the toolbox of our infection control programs we call S.H.E.P. (Surface Hygiene: Epidemic & Pandemic). Broadcast spraying and indiscriminate fogging are ineffective and inconsistent with both science and the restoration industry principles we have applied successfully to the goals of surface microbe reduction.

ICP has been providing COVID-19 education for more than 18 months (since our first MasterWorks webinar in March 2020) and more than 5,000 professionals from all walks of life that have attended – each learned from S.H.E.P. the same fundamental tenet of disinfection: when transmission in the community is high, and especially when an occupant may have been sick, then implementation of BOTH cleaning and disinfecting of high-traffic surfaces is a best practice. Moreover, whether in the present pandemic or looking ahead to when coronavirus has become an endemic management challenge, there is a role for disinfection as one of several tools in a layered mitigation strategy.

Public Health agencies have been unified in messaging that we need to deploy multiple related strategies, especially in community environments like schools, if our COVID-19 programs are to be successful. At ICP, we communicate and educate via SHEP that controlled and targeted surface disinfection is one valuable layer among our methods of mitigation.

Layered Mitigation Strategy

There are many different types of microbes in our lives daily. Millions of different viruses, bacteria, and molds live and grow on surfaces and through these vectors can be transmitted to us. Many microbes last only a few hours on surfaces, but there are many potentially dangerous microbes that can live for months. Depending on the microbe and these microbes can cause life-threatening ailments that are often problematic and sometimes even fatal.

Microbial transmission involves different modes depending on the type of pathogen, for example a respiratory pathogen such as COVID-19, is usually airborne, whereas intestinal pathogens are typically spread through water or food. Microorganisms can be transmitted by more than one route, here is a list of the five main routes of transmission:

  • direct contact – occurs through physical transfer through direct body contact with an infected individual. Entry occurs through mucous membranes, open wounds, or abraded skin
  • fomites – surface transmission of infection, an infected individual contacts an inanimate object, then the microbes are transmitted through another non-infected individual touching the surface
  • aerosol (airborne) – the transfer of pathogens via small particles or droplets. This transfer can occur when an infected individual breathes, coughs or sneezes in the vicinity of an uninfected individual
  • oral (ingestion) – transfers through contaminated food or water. Occurs when a person eats or ingests contaminated food, water or by licking or chewing on contaminated surfaces
  • vector borne – transfers through infected animals or insects to individuals. Occurs when an infected animal or insect such as a mosquito, flea/tick, or rodents bites an individual and passes on pathogen

Microbial pathogens are a real threat on surfaces and should be considered when determining your company’s cleaning & disinfection plans including frequency of application. The CDC as of Fall 2021, is recommending for COVID-19 and other viruses that all touchable surfaces are to be cleaned at least once per day. They also suggest that “You may want to either clean more frequently or choose to disinfect (in addition to cleaning) in shared spaces if the space is a high traffic area or if certain conditions apply that can increase the risk of infection from touching surfaces:

  • High transmission of COVID-19 in your community (As of early September 2021, close to 94% of US counties fall into the current high transmission category).
  • Low vaccination rates in your community.
  • Infrequent use of other prevention measures, such as mask wearing (among unvaccinated people) and hand hygiene; or
  • The space is occupied by people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space.”  

Overall, the best ways to mitigate and reduce the spread of COVID-19, is a layered mitigation strategy. This includes things such as masking where social distancing is not possible, practicing regular hand hygiene, implementing vaccination policies, social distancing as well as cleaning and disinfecting where applicable. With children back in the classrooms in most regions as well as businesses opening back up welcoming back staff and employees it is more important than ever to implement a Surface Hygiene, Epidemic and Pandemic Plans to address routine & targeted cleaning & disinfecting.

At ICP we have a Technical Bulletin entitled: Antimicrobial Disinfection Efficacy Matrix, to provide more guidance about various types of microbes, surface viability, how many cases in the USA of that infection annually, the etiology of each of the microbes listed and the approved disinfectant products we have for each of the outlined microbes. In many cases, microbes can be and are transmitted via surfaces, and so it is important to establish regular cleaning and disinfection plans to truly protect the built environment, during a pandemic and beyond.

In Part 3 of 4 of our S.H.E.P. blog series, coming soon, learn more about the suggested types of pandemic and surface hygiene plans and some ideas of how to build and implement these plans.




Written by ICP Group

Fiberlock Recon Ultra and Fiberlock AfterShock Have Achieved Lubrizol Advanced Materials FBC™ System Compatible Certification

Chemical compatibility in construction is critical to making sure your installations will stand the test of time. When you choose ICP’s Fiberlock Recon Ultra Odor Sealing technologies and Fiberlock AfterShock fungicidal coatings, you can be sure they are compatible with these brands from Lubrizol Advanced Materials:

What us the Lubrizol FBC™ System Compatible Program?

As a solution to compatibility issues related to chemicals and coatings being installed around fire suppression and other plumbing systems, Lubrizol Advanced Materials developed the FBC™ System Compatible Program to ease the burden associated with researching and selecting accompanying construction products.

How did ICP become certified?

To qualify, ICP submitted Fiberlock Recon Ultra and AfterShock for third-party testing. ICP also agreed to third-party audits of its manufacturing facilities on an annual basis and that there would be no alterations to the tested formulation.

Where are the certifications valid?

The FBC System Compatible Program serves the industry with active use in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, 25 European countries, the United Arab Emirates, India and China.


ICP is currently having other products tested under the FBC System Compatible Program. Check back for additional updates or contact us for more information.

Written by ICP Group

Protect Your People and Facilities: Before, During & Post-Pandemic

Surface Hygiene: Epidemic & Pandemic (S.H.E.P.) Blog – Post 1 of 4

Having realistic, clearly defined plans and key performance indicators to define your success is essential to every organization. The same principle applies when dealing with pandemic or epidemic, which are increasing in frequency and lethality. To paraphrase joint guidance on CoV-2 in 2020 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every individual or group responsible for an indoor environment where our people live and work must engage in three fundamental steps: Make a Plan, Implement the Plan, and Never Stop Revising the Plan. Surface Hygiene: Epidemic and Pandemic (S.H.E.P.) Plans are imperative in any facility, and after the CoV-2 pandemic, we better appreciate the dangers of extraordinary outbreaks, as well as the cost of preventable “ordinary” occupant sickness. We will introduce the mission of SHEP, the definitions, the importance of these plans, and how to develop and implement these plans tailored to each facility.

First let us start with both the concept and some basic definitions of S.H.E.P:

The acronym itself is a jumping off point. At ICP, we have been involved with contingency planning for disaster and epidemic since 2005. And regarding just surface disinfection, there is a lot to remember that goes into emergency response. Whether that emergency is a hurricane coming ashore or a breakout of infectious disease, information is crucial. There is often too little, some “facts” are wrong, and there is a lot of noise during a stressful time. SHEP is a concept created at ICP to cut through the noise and teach best practices of surface disinfection that can be flexed to accommodate circumstances. SHEP is both an acronym and a mnemonic device. Acronyms are words made up of the first letters of other words. As a mnemonic device, acronyms help us remember the first letters of items in a list, which in turn helps to remember the list itself. During training, SHEP helps teach cleaning and disinfection. When the event transpires, SHEP reduces hesitation and makes us more responsive.

Surface – So the “S” stands for surfaces. What is a surface in the context of infection control? A touchable location where communicable disease can be transmitted through dermal (skin) contact, and/or carried by touch to avenues of infection like mouth/nose/eyes.

Hygiene – from the dictionary: conditions and practices that promote and preserve health. Hygiene is the discipline of practices and protocols to assure or restore cleanliness.

Epidemic – a widespread disease that affects many individuals in a population. Typically used to describe an unusual outbreak with transmission rates that are upward trending and not completely controlled. Epidemics usually are still a limited geography event compared with pandemic, but what is not stopped as an epidemic can become…

Pandemic – an epidemic over a wide geographical area and affecting a large proportion of the population. Associated with uncontrolled community transmission. Inability to immediately control can be due to an emerging pathogen (viral or bacterial) against which the medical profession has little experience and few intervention treatments or preventatives.

What does S.H.E.P. look like in practice?

S.H.E.P. is the ICP Building Solutions Group (icpgroup.com) concept for healthy environments. S.H.E.P. is based on our experience, technology pedigree, and the irreplaceable expertise based on participation helping combat past pandemics. Focusing your plans based on the S.H.E.P. model will ensure that you are maximizing effectiveness while minimizing any potential risk from disinfectant usage, and that you are constantly evolving your plans to meet the inevitably invasive microbial factors that are beyond our day-to-day norm & that we have little or no control over.

Surfaces are considered primary or secondary transmission vectors for the majority of (but not all) pathogenic microbes that comprise the group most likely to impact your people and facility (view our antimicrobial disinfection efficacy matrix). Therefore, touchable surfaces should be a focal point of consideration when addressing protection plans for your facility. Disease experts refer to these surfaces as fomites, which is defined as any inanimate object that, when contaminated with or exposed to infectious agents, can transfer disease to a new host. These fomites include everything from clothing and utensils to things like furniture and fixtures. Surfaces can be contaminated a variety of ways including through airborne contaminants, and via touch. Note that surfaces can be fixed like a countertop, or mobile like a cart with a handle. Shared items present a range of disinfectant challenges of varied profile and porosity from plush toys to athletic mats.

Humans touch their face, according to the Journal of Hospital Infection, on average 23 times per hour, with contact mostly to the skin, mouth, nose, and eyes. We also touch common objects or shared surfaces such as buttons, door handles, etc. approximately 3.3 times per hour, so surfaces are a crucial cause for consideration & concern.

Hygiene is the discipline of practices and protocols to assure or restore cleanliness. Hygiene is always desirable. In fact, in buildings where human beings share an environment, hygiene should be mandatory. Certainly, after this pandemic those who are responsible for our built environment will be held to a higher hygiene standard then perhaps ever before. Hygiene becomes critical in a time of great infection. Consider a nexus of surfaces, a microbe that readily spreads via fomites, and uncontrolled community spread risking oversimplification, that means:

  • more infected people are depositing more potentially infectious microorganisms on surfaces that can be touched,
  • which in turn creates a numbers game or raw probability dynamic. Any touch on any g touchable shared surface might be a touch sufficient to carry a dose to the body of a previously uninfected person. So, when we have “red communities” and uncontrolled spread then hygiene needs to be enhanced or ramped up to reduce a dosage probability inherent in that numbers game.

Epidemics happen frequently and need to be addressed with layered mitigation locally to prevent growth of the outbreak. During the pandemic in 2020-2021, a concept we repeatedly introduced to the thousands that attended our education programs, is that the mitigation steps being taken and the knowledge and appreciation underpinning that mitigation, that all needs to carry forward once the pandemic is over. Those steps and skills are both integral to a healthy indoor environment, as well as being the best preparation for the inevitable next emerging pathogen outbreak. To keep it simple and memorable, it was taught as: we will need this knowledge again. With all we have learned from CoV-2, is that we should now be better with a more universal understanding of what is required to maintain a healthy environment the next time there is a meningitis outbreak at our local University, or a MRSA outbreak in the locker room of our local athletic team, and innumerable similar and local situations.

Pandemics are epidemics that have grown both out of control and to a wide geographical area & affect a large proportion of the population. Pandemics are often caused by a new microorganism against which we had little previous knowledge and no immunity. Pandemic, albeit thankfully rare, is included in the S.H.E.P. concept because there will be future episodes when nature leans into the SARS playbook. Few try to dispute that there will be future, even more frequent, zoonotic crossovers of viruses that have pandemic potential. There are bacteria that too have pandemic potential not to mention antibiotic resistance. According to the University of Minnesota’s CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy):

Medical historians tell us there have been nine influenza pandemics in the past 300 years. So, one every 30 to 35 years or so, or roughly three per century, is everybody’s best guess about the future frequency.

The P in S.H.E.P. is for pandemic; but it is also for Prepare.

The Surfaces, Hygiene, Epidemics and Pandemic components of SHEP are insight tools. Separately and altogether, these buckets need to be considered when building your organization/facility’s emergency and customer care plans. Some examples would be to reflect on the types of surfaces you have in your facilities and how many employees & customers enter your business daily? What is the typical customer (outsider) traffic flow in your facility? Do we have adequate controls in place to ensure our facility is meeting hygiene needs? How will a simulated epidemic or pandemic affect the region my business is in? How are we going to communicate these plans to our staff and customers?

Stay tuned for parts 2-4 of our S.H.E.P. blog coming soon!

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