Dane Poeske, the chief commercial officer at Force of Nature, shares the importance of disinfecting and cleaning without toxics.
Fitness centers are all about health and wellness, but you know more than anyone that workout facilities can be a hotbed for some pretty scary germs, bacteria and viruses. Sadly, as your staff works hard to clean and disinfect your surfaces, equipment, and facility they may unintentionally be exposing themselves and your clients to some toxic ingredients that are just as scary.
The cleaning industry is poorly regulated when it comes to health, so many common disinfectants and cleaners trigger and cause allergies, asthma and other serious health conditions. One recent study found that chronic exposure to the most common cleaning products can be as harmful to our health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
Something you may not know but is worth considering is that about 30% of U.S. adults have asthma or allergies. Quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach are so dangerous to this population that the CDC recommends not using cleaning products with quats, bleach or fragrances around them.
Top Ingredients to Avoid for Safer Disinfecting
Despite its nostalgic longevity in the cleaning space, bleach isn’t safe. It’s a corrosive and harsh ingredient that can damage and destroy your valuable athletic equipment, mats, and surfaces. Bleach is also harmful to your staff and clients (and particularly children that may be in childcare or kid’s programs at your facility) as it can cause burns, trigger asthma and allergies, and exacerbate or cause respiratory conditions like COPD.
Gyms rely on alcohol to clean mirrors, screens, and other areas where you want to avoid water spots while also disinfecting and cleaning. Alcohol is also a caustic ingredient that can cause toxic and corrosive fumes which, if mixed with bleach can be deadly. Alcohol can also cause your surfaces to crack, yellow, dry out and rust, which allows more germs, viruses, and bacteria to thrive.
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats)
Quats are a class of compounds that are effective at killing microbes by attaching to the negatively-charged surfaces of bacteria and viruses. These compounds have been used in disinfectant products for decades, but scientists are now concerned.
Quats can cause health issues ranging from allergic skin rashes and irritation even with limited exposure, to severe eye injury, irritation of the nose and throat, and trigger allergy and asthma symptoms — even causing asthma in those who previously did not have the condition.
Quats can linger on the surfaces of your mats, equipment, and locker room surfaces for days, continuing to expose your clients and staff to harmful toxins.
- Fragranced Cleaning Products
Fragrances often contain toxic chemicals like phthalates that do not have to be disclosed by manufacturers due to a regulatory loophole. As a result, hundreds of ingredients can be hidden under the word “fragrance” on a label and almost every cleaning product contains fragrances.
In a research study among asthma sufferers, scented products triggered reactions so severe that 62.8% would be considered disabling under the ADA. Another study linked phthalate exposure to 100,000 early deaths a year.
Next Generation Disinfecting and Cleaning Products
Thankfully. there are next generation disinfecting and multi-purpose cleaning products with ingredients like Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL) that are non-toxic, safe and effective that can even save you money.