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HFI task force update

July 25, 2013
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HFI Issues SMART Task Force Overview

BOISE, ID — The SMART - Swift Market Assessment Response Team - Task Force is a way to drive healthful ways, the Clean Standard -, and Integrated Cleaning and Measurement (ICM) (see IEHA-ICM Booklet ) more rapidly into the marketplace through dialog and discussion.

The Task Force (TF) will “meet” by email and respond to queries by the committee chair (Allen Rathey) as time permits. Rathey will query the group monthly (around the 15th of each month) asking for input on a specific topic.

The TF will consist of vendors and end-users with the early members being vendors, as this idea sprang from brainstorming a way to provide value to HFI sponsors, without endorsing any particular product or for-profit service.

“HFI is also very fortunate to have the support of the ISSA and IEHA in making sure our facts are correct about related programs that affect facility health,” said Allen Rathey, President of HFI.

To become a member of the task force, please email Allen Rathey at

The vendors involved to date include:
•    Advanced Vapor Technologies
•    Cavalier Inc.
•    GenEon Technologies
•    GTM Strategies
•    Hygiena
•    Kaivac
•    Procyon - Plus Manufacturing
•    ProTeam
•    Zadro Inc.

One of the first queries posed is on the "ISSA Standard for Measuring the Cleanliness of K-12 Schools"…. Below are the questions from HFI’s founder and president (Allen Rathey) and first response from Hygiena:

Q: Since the “goal of the Standard for Measuring the Cleanliness in K-12 Schools (hereinafter referred to as the Clean Standard) is to provide schools with a tool that will help them objectively measure and monitor the level of cleanliness at their facilities thereby contributing to the quality of the indoor environment for the benefit of students and staff”  – what steps do you think the cleaning industry should take to implement this standard?

A: We must first look at the definition of “Clean” and questions surrounding the definition. Questions such as:  What is clean? Who determines what is clean? How do we determine what is clean and how do we maintain an adequate standard of clean?

The way we define “clean” on an everyday basis is fairly simple and unscientific. We rely on our own definitions of clean, on our own standards, on our own perception. Considering that 7 billion people populate the Earth, the variation between the opinions on “clean” will be very far apart as geographical, cultural, and economical factors will differ region to region, industry to industry, individual to individual.

The first step in an objective process is to establish an acceptable scientific baseline within an individual organization/facility. This can be done through extensive cleaning and immediate follow up with scientific testing tools (such as an ATP hygiene monitoring system) to determine PASS/FAIL limits.  

This is what the Clean Standard recommends, and it is the right approach. ISSA helps us do this.  Also, manufacturers of ATP testing equipment provide suggested thresholds or direct instructions on how to establish such a baseline.

Once an acceptable “Clean” standard (or range) is determined and set by ISSA’s Clean Standard, it is important to monitor levels of cleanliness on a regular basis with data recording and tracking to constantly maintain the highest standards of hygiene.

Q:  What barriers to successful implementation do you see, and how should these be overcome?

A:  The biggest barrier to successful implementation is the lack of understanding of why it is important to monitor cleanliness on a regular basis.  Effective presentations, trainings and education on the use of measurement technology such as ATP testing, and helping the end-user establish consistent testing programs will help eliminate obstacles to successful implementation and an ongoing program.  

Q: Do you have specific words of support for ISSA, CIRI, and the Clean Standard Development and Stakeholder Committees?

A:  With the recent rise of health risks from communicable pathogens, and the emergence of new  viruses and antibiotic resistant organisms,  it is crucial to take the initiative to create a clean and safe environment, especially in schools where children are at most risk to pick up an illness.

Organizations such as ISSA, CIRI, and the Clean Standard Development and Stakeholder Committees, play a most crucial role in educating and promoting the importance of initiatives such as the “Standard for Measuring the Cleanliness in K-12 Schools”. With committed support from the manufacturers to the dedication of end-users, there is no doubt that ISSA, CIRI, and the Clean Standard Development and Stakeholder Committees will create an outstanding program contributing to better, healthier environments for our children.

To become a member of the task force, and respond to the questions above and others to come, please email Allen Rathey at

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