Why Airports Need The Quad-Sink Hand Wash Stations
Written By: Olivia Bordonaro, Youngstown State University and Personal Protected Intern
Did you know the security checkpoint trays in airports carry more bacteria on them than the airport toilet? Encountering germs in an airport is inevitable, and encouraging hand washing is more than beneficial; that’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Personal Protected Quad-Sink. The Quad-Sink is a portable, high volume hand washing station that provides touchless capabilities such as the sink faucet, soap dispenser, and towel dispenser without compromising social distancing. The Quad-Sink can promote a healthy humanity throughout airports and could even play a role in the prevention against future pandemics.
First, let’s talk about those crowded restrooms. If you’ve ever had a bad bathroom experience in an airport, you’re not alone. Often the soap dispensers are out of soap, the stall door barely shuts, and the floors are left a mess from the avelanching trash bin of used paper towels. Passengers can be easily encouraged to wash their hands whether it be waiting to board the flight, before or after you eat, or to tidy up. Hand washing can save lives wherever you go and the Quad-Sink can provide that immediate solution for you without the typical cost and hassle.
It is important to Personal Protected to promote a healthy humanity. Keeping our hands clean is the best defense from spreading and contracting germs. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 80% of illness-causing germs are spread by your hands. They also refer to a researcher in the U.K. that estimated that one million deaths could be prevented every year if everyone washed their hands routinely (Hygiene Fast Facts).
Bacteria and illness-causing germs are everywhere, but airports are one of the major germ infested areas due to the high traffic of people traveling to and from different parts of the world. According to a study done in 2018 by Insurance Quotes researchers on colony-forming units (CFUs) in 3 major U.S. airports, they found that one of the dirtiest surfaces is the self-check in kiosks. People are constantly touching them with their hands, and germs spread very easily from hand-screen interaction. According to MIT Sloan researcher and professor, Christos Nicolaides PhD, there are only about 20% of people with clean hands at an airport (Brown). Imagine how many people who went to the restroom didn’t wash their hands, and then touched the surface you’re about to touch. Each day the cycle repeats, and germs are spread. Insurance Quotes researchers state “One check-in screen recorded over 1 million CFU. In comparison, an average of only 172 CFU are found on toilet seats.” (A Closer Look at Germs and Air Travel). Nicolaides and his colleagues conducted research on airport hygiene and the difference hand washing can make in global pandemics. By bringing large amounts of people together in confined spaces, airports heavily contribute to spreading infectious diseases. They found that if hand washing increased where 60% of passengers have clean hands in airports, there would be a drop in the impact of a potential pandemic by 69% (Brown). The researchers stated:
As airports have the potential to turn a disease into a pandemic, public health officials could take drastic steps like diverting air traffic or shutting down airports. Smaller local measures like hand washing are simple, inexpensive, and effective. (Brown)
However, with the limited capacity of washrooms in airports Nicolaides says that it would be an unrealistic short-term goal. The Quad-Sink can make that goal realistic. It allows for easy access, easy use, and easy maintenance. It provides 120 hand washes every 10 minutes, 720 hand washes every hour, and 6,000 hand washes before needing refills. Nicolaides recommends this approach, the article states:
Nicolaides says that one important step that could be taken to improve handwashing rates and overall hygiene at airports would be to have handwashing sinks available at many more locations, especially outside of the restrooms where surfaces tend to be highly contaminated. (Chandler)
Under the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint data, by April of 2020, the airline traffic was down to about 90,000 to 100,000 passengers per day in the U.S. (Transportation Security Administration). For reference, the average passenger traffic per day ranged from 2,000,000 to 2,700,000 in 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, passenger traffic in airports was the lowest in the U.S. since the 1980s, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (Bureau of Transportation Statistics). As of June 2021, traffic is back up to about 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 travelers per day. With the pandemic still occurring and precautions being more important now than ever, the Quad-Sink is the perfect tool to help keep travelers sanitary while promoting more frequent and thorough hand washing. The Quad-Sink can also provide confidence for airport staff to show travelers what a difference hand washing can make, and that they have their best interest in mind . Having that extra precaution not only will make a difference traveling during a pandemic, but could impact overall hygiene and prevent future illnesses.
It is extremely important to wash your hands (with soap and water) as frequently as possible. The Personal Protected Quad-Sink hand washing station comes with multiple benefits as discussed above. Personal Protected values community involvement while at the same time promoting hand washing. It is proven that hand washing is the best thing you could do to prevent the spread of germs as mentioned previously. David Chandler, from the MIT News Office, states this in a 2020 article on slowing the epidemic:
The findings are consistent with recommendations made by both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Both have indicated that hand hygiene is the most efficient and cost-effective way to control disease propagation. While both organizations say that other measures can also play a useful role in limiting disease spread, such as use of surgical face masks, airport closures, and travel restrictions, hand hygiene is still the first line of defense — and an easy one for individuals to implement. (Chandler)
With the recent studies on spreading disease and pandemics, it can be easily concluded that hand washing is the most important precaution someone can take to prevent the spread of germs. Credible sources such as the CDC, World Health Organization, and Professor and Researcher Dr. Christos Nicolaides all stress the importance of washing your hands. Hand hygiene will never go out of style. Now, with the understanding of how hand washing can decrease the amount of germs spread to others, we encourage you to be a part of a healthy humanity by being a leader through practicing healthy habits.
Brown, Sara. “How to Curb a Pandemic: Wash Your Hands at the Airport.” MIT Sloan, 2 Mar. 2020, mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/how-to-curb-a-pandemic-wash-your-hands-airport
Bureau of Transportation Statistics. “Full Year 2020 and December 2020 U.S. Airline Traffic Data.” Full Year 2020 and December 2020 U.S. Airline Traffic Data | Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2021, https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/full-year-2020-and-december-2020-us-airline-traffic-data
Chandler, David L. “Study: To Slow an Epidemic, Focus on Handwashing.” MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2020, https://news.mit.edu/2020/slow-epidemic-airport-handwashing-0206
“A Closer Look at Germs and Air Travel.” InsuranceQuotes, 10 June 2021, www.insurancequotes.com/health/germs-at-the-airport.
“Hygiene Fast Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 July 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/fast_facts.html
Transportation Security Administration. “TSA Checkpoint Travel Numbers (Current Year(s) versus Prior Year/Same Weekday).” TSA Checkpoint Travel Numbers (Current Year(s) versus Prior Year/Same Weekday) | Transportation Security Administration, 2021, https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus/passenger-throughput