American plumbing organizations came together June 7 to discuss current issues affecting
the plumbing community, focusing on the recent study by Johns Hopkins
University staff on electronic hands-free faucets.
to the study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
examined bacterial growth from faucets of two clinical wards within Johns
Hopkins Hospital from December 2008 through January 2009. Their study included
20 manual faucets and 20 electronic faucets, all receiving water from the same
source. Cultures obtained from the faucets showed that 50 percent of water
cultures from electronic faucets grew Legionella
compared to 15 percent of water cultures from manual faucets.
participants reviewed the Johns Hopkins presentation based on the limited
public information available and also heard presentations from Dr.
, P.E., from the Center for Biofilm
Engineering at Montana State University, who spoke on biofilms;
from the American Society for
Healthcare Engineering, who discussed the status of a project that is surveying
hospitals on their use of electronic faucet systems; and Jim
, executive director of the Handwashing Leadership Forum.
following conclusions and recommended actions resulted from the meeting:
The use of electronic faucets provides significant benefit by reducing the
potential of cross-contamination from faucet handles to health-care providers’
Broad industry participation (manufacturers, engineers, subject-matter experts
and installers) early in any research process would enhance the research
regarding accuracy and results.
As no one in the group had seen the actual study, additional information is
needed concerning the results presented by Johns Hopkins, and the group agreed
that outreach should continue. Questions prepared by the group will be provided
to Johns Hopkins, along with an invitation for them to participate with the
group in further research and data collection.
Full support was given to the position
statement recently published by ASHE and the Association for
Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
The ASPE Research Foundation will coordinate research projects designed to
address questions raised by the Johns Hopkins presentation.
A separate position statement on the use of electronic faucets will be
developed by the group for future release.
There is tremendous value in bringing together
stakeholders to discuss important industry issues. While this meeting was the
first of its kind, it will not be the last, as significant benefits resulted
from the cross-industry communication on the issue.
“No matter what area of the plumbing community meeting attendees represented,
there was one common focus from all: a commitment to providing plumbing systems
that help protect public health and safety,” stated Jim Kendzel
MPH, CAE, executive director/CEO of ASPE. “It is our hope that this highly
successful meeting will become a foundation for future positive, interactive
dialogue among those groups directly impacting plumbing in North America.”
represented at the meeting include: Alliance for Water Efficiency; American
Backflow Prevention Association; American Society of Plumbing Engineers; ASPE
Research Foundation; Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating; Canadian
Standards Association; International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical
Officials; International Code Council; Mechanical Contractors Association of
America/Plumbing Contractors of America; NSF International; Plumbing
Contractors Association of Chicago and Cook County; Plumbing Manufacturers
International; Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association; and