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Eco Eye enlists airmid’s testing expertise

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Bruce and DSRTE’s environmental awareness program Eco Eye enlisted airmid healthgroup’s help in their recent episode on “Hazardous Waste”. The episode examined the health and environmental impacts of common household chemicals and investigated less hazardous and “eco-friendly” alternatives. We were asked to compare the effectiveness of homemade cleaning products and more typical store-bought brands against bacteria.

Dr. Bruce Mitchell, CEO of airmid healthgroup, featured in the episode discussing the need for awareness of the potential health implications of using chemicals in the home with Eco Eye presenter and TV personality, Duncan Stewart while airmid’s Technical Project Manager, Jake Behan, presented our testing results with some surprising findings!

Jake and DS

We used our environmental testing chambers to compare the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from the various cleaning products. Each store-bought and homemade cleaning product was individually applied to a test surface under controlled conditions while a calibrated, highly sensitive VOC monitor positioned above the test surface measured the resulting emissions. 

Next, we used an Agar Diffusion Method to determine the effectiveness of each cleaning product at preventing the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. A known concentration of S. aureus was applied to an agar plate. The cleaning product was added to a small well in the agar and the plate was then incubated to allow for bacterial growth. If the cleaning product was effective, a ‘zone of clearing‘ should be observed around the well, meaning that there is a zone where no bacterial growth occurred. If the cleaning product had no effect, then no zone of clearing would be apparent.

In addition to cleaning products the episode also investigated paints and garden sprays to highlight how in our daily lives we are all exposed to thousands of chemicals. Although the health and environmental effects of these chemicals are only starting to be understood, during their use these products can be flushed into our water and contaminate the environment.

agar plateThe scientists at airmid were delighted to feature in Eco Eye, one of the most popular shows on Irish television and the longest running environmental series. It was a pleasure to host Duncan and the team in our labs.

You can view the full episode, which originally aired on February 27th, by following the link here to the RTE Player.