— A study conducted by GOJO Industries
found that washing with soap from open refillable bulk soap dispensers left 10 times the amount of bacteria on students'' hands when compared to washing with soap from sealed refills, according to a press release
According to the release, the study was presented at a meeting of National Association of School Nurses
(NASN) held in Boston, and suggests that contaminated bulk soap may play a part in the spread of bacteria in schools, especially in children.
Carrie Zapka, microbiology scientist at GOJO Industries, said: "We were surprised to learn that the soap from one in four bulk dispensers is contaminated with an average of more than three million bacteria, many of which are known to be opportunistic pathogens. Exposure to such high levels of these organisms can be a significant health risk to individuals with compromised immune systems – estimated to be at least 20 percent of the population. In contrast, soap from sealed dispensing systems was free from contamination."
When bulk dispensers are refilled, the nozzle is often not replaced, unlike sealed dispensing systems that contain a new nozzle with each refill, the release stated.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends against the use of bulk refillable containers in healthcare settings, but there are no guidelines for dispensers in schools or public restrooms, the release noted.
The study tested both sealed and bulk soap dispensers used in schools by students and staff, the release added.