Health and safety innovations: Meet the Clean-Trace hygiene monitoring device

Have you ever seen this in movies? It’s something you wouldn’t think relates to health and safety or hygiene.

Especially because it’s usually in those makeover shows where they transform people’s homes or hotels into a trendier establishment.

They walk into a bedroom and shine one of those bioluminescent lights on the bed, revealing the areas that contain bodily fluid? Sure, it’s cringe-worthy. But that technology is a very relevant point of discussion for today…

What it is the Clean-Trace device?

An international company called 3M has just launched a similar device here in South Africa! It’s going to be a game-changer for the health and safety hygiene sector because its light reveals absolutely anything left behind on the surface. It doesn’t light up the surface, but through swabbing, will give you an accurate account of what, if anything, is present on the surface you’re testing.

All great human inventions somehow come about when we’re inspired by nature – even this hygiene device. It’s based on scientists’ observation of the way fireflies create their own light, using bioluminescence.

Fireflies light up by using a chemical process which scientists have mimicked successfully. They have combined luciferase enzyme (oxidative enzymes) with ATP (a molecule that stores and transports energy) “light emitted through the swab and detected with the Clean-Trace can determine how clean a surface is.”

How it works for health and safety

Health and safety isn’t only about ropes and harnesses. It’s also about public health. This device serves both the occupational safety of staff who work with food and the general public who will be utilizing the services.

Dr Louisé Mare explains how this device works: “ATP can be present in product residue, protein residue as well as bacteria and all living cells. When the swab is rubbed across a surface, it picks up the ATP. “The swab contains luciferase enzyme in the bottom and if the ATP molecules comes in contact with this enzyme, it emits a light reaction. “The luminometer measures the light and the brighter the light, the more contaminated the swabbed surface is.”

Is it effective?

Bioluminescence is not new to the cleaning industry. 3M wanted this device to be effective enough to use in environments like the food and beverage industry.

The guys working in those sectors need to guarantee food safety standards. 3M developed this device to be user-friendly and easy to handle.

It works to give results within 10 seconds. It can also withstand high temperatures, and its robustness makes it suitable for those working in high impact environments, like food factories, where the device may get dropped from heights by accident.

The outlook for health and safety in South Africa

The hygiene (and health and safety) industry can enjoy instant and accurate test results. It’s like having a science lab to test your hygiene in your factory/kitchen. At FSG we are excited about the fantastic advancements the industry is making.
We are proud to be part of the industry and improving the health of the general public by curbing the spread of bacteria and ensuring the most rigid health and safety requirements are achieved. You can learn more about the work we do from our Cleaning and Hygiene Page.