Rampant staph infections continue to cost lives unnecessarily. One powerful weapon to fight this scourge is being successfully deployed by China’s military: industrial hemp. Staph is spread by direct contact and by touching items that are contaminated such as towels, sheets, privacy curtains, and clothing. As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, “It is estimated that each year 2 million Americans become infected during hospital stays, and at least 90,000 of them die. MRSA (an antibiotic resistant strain of staph) is a leading cause of hospital-borne infections.” One of the most important recent discoveries is hemp’s ability to kill surface bacteria, while cotton, polyester, and polyethelyne allow it to remain on their surfaces for up to months at a time.
Unknown to many, hemp fabrics exist in today’s market that can replace each of these transmission prone hospital items. Technological improvements for hemp textile development began in the early 90s when EnviroTextile’s lead textile engineer, Barbara Filippone, began working with hemp in China. To date, the company has over 100 hemp and hemp blended fabrics available to suit any traditional fabric application. In addition to staph resistance, other tests show hemp fabrics superior resistance to UV and infrared wavelengths, providing multiple applications for military use.
Hemp fabric was tested against two bacteria strains, Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) and Klebsiella Pneumoniae (pneumonia). The fabric tested was a hemp blend, 60% hemp and 40% rayon. The staph test sample was already 98.5% bacteria free during the first measurement of the testing, while the pneumonia fabric sample was 65.1% bacteria free. These results, even prior to the tests completion, clearly display the fabrics unique capability at killing bacteria and reducing their spread. This is especially imperative for healthcare facilities.
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