Poster Title

Using UV-C Light to Disinfect Public Restroom Fixtures

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Secondary School

Institution

Project Lead The Way - Kentucky

KY House District #

63

KY Senate District #

23

Abstract

The technology within public restrooms has evolved significantly in recent years, especially in regards to sanitation. Yet the problem of bathrooms being a place full of contaminants still prevails. Germs currently found in public restrooms can be as simple as the common cold to something more serious like staphylococcus (a staph infection). Currently the preferred option for avoiding germs in the restroom is to not touch anything, but that is hardly possible. Most people wash their hands, but many do not, putting other people at risk. Since there are currently solutions to reduce touch points in entry ways, faucets, soap dispensers, and towel dispensers, our project is focused on developing a product to disinfect bathroom stall doors locks and latches using UV-C light. The stall door latch is the one area that is not currently addressed by current products or methods. The stall door latch will be designed to replace existing door latches with a fixture capable of locking the door while also sanitizing the door latch. The UV-C light source will be capable of killing germs and bacteria on the latch. The device will be designed to reflect the light internally to insure that the entire latch mechanism is sanitized. Testing procedures were developed with input from infectious disease experts at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Based on what we have learned from experts at Good Samaritan Hospital about methods that use UV-C light to sanitize, a plan was developed to test the effectiveness of our device. We will use controlled testing methods that consist of swabbing the area and incubating a culture before and after exposing it to UV-C light and comparing the results using chemical tests. One of the chemical tests we plan to use in accordance with our incubated cultures is ATP (adenosine triphosphate) testing. ATP is a molecule found in and around living cells. A desirable outcome would be that the sample exposed to the UV-C light will have considerably less amounts of ATP than the sample not exposed to UV-C light. Once we have proven through testing that our device eliminates a potential health hazard point in restrooms, we will move to patent our device and subsequently we will market it to the public ideally through a company currently in the bathroom fixture market.

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Using UV-C Light to Disinfect Public Restroom Fixtures

The technology within public restrooms has evolved significantly in recent years, especially in regards to sanitation. Yet the problem of bathrooms being a place full of contaminants still prevails. Germs currently found in public restrooms can be as simple as the common cold to something more serious like staphylococcus (a staph infection). Currently the preferred option for avoiding germs in the restroom is to not touch anything, but that is hardly possible. Most people wash their hands, but many do not, putting other people at risk. Since there are currently solutions to reduce touch points in entry ways, faucets, soap dispensers, and towel dispensers, our project is focused on developing a product to disinfect bathroom stall doors locks and latches using UV-C light. The stall door latch is the one area that is not currently addressed by current products or methods. The stall door latch will be designed to replace existing door latches with a fixture capable of locking the door while also sanitizing the door latch. The UV-C light source will be capable of killing germs and bacteria on the latch. The device will be designed to reflect the light internally to insure that the entire latch mechanism is sanitized. Testing procedures were developed with input from infectious disease experts at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Based on what we have learned from experts at Good Samaritan Hospital about methods that use UV-C light to sanitize, a plan was developed to test the effectiveness of our device. We will use controlled testing methods that consist of swabbing the area and incubating a culture before and after exposing it to UV-C light and comparing the results using chemical tests. One of the chemical tests we plan to use in accordance with our incubated cultures is ATP (adenosine triphosphate) testing. ATP is a molecule found in and around living cells. A desirable outcome would be that the sample exposed to the UV-C light will have considerably less amounts of ATP than the sample not exposed to UV-C light. Once we have proven through testing that our device eliminates a potential health hazard point in restrooms, we will move to patent our device and subsequently we will market it to the public ideally through a company currently in the bathroom fixture market.