As a hazardous waste and trauma cleanup company, one of the most challenging aspects of our work is helping people deal with and recover from the aftermath of a suicide. Frankly, we wish our services and our crisis counselors weren’t required under these circumstances. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the goal is to change the conversation from focusing on suicide to focusing on prevention instead.

It seems that recently there have been quite a few cases of celebrities taking their own lives, and the news has been full of reports, both of the incidents as well as the effects on the families and friends. With this post it’s our goal to start shifting the conversation to how do we prevent these tragedies?

Talking about it openly is one of the best ways to start.  And we’re partnering with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline organization to get the word out.   The first step is to get the word out – that each one of us can help in preventing another self-inflicted death.  The hashtag, #BeThe1To, can get that conversation moving.  Be the one to what?  There are a number of things that go along with this hashtag, but these are the first two:

  • #BeThe1toAsk:  Don’t be afraid to ask someone close to you if they’re struggling, because simply asking in a way that’s caring can prevent someone from taking that fatal step.  Studies show that when a person who is considering suicide talks about it with someone who is genuinely interested in them, it can actually avert it.
  • #BeThe1toKeepThemSafe: The next step is to check your home for things that might be lethal. Often removing the means or making it inaccessible is sufficient prevention.

To find out more about what you can do, visit the website for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  They also have resources available.  And please share this phone number – it just might save a person’s life.  We’ve got plenty of other cleanup work to do – we wouldn’t mind a lot less of this kind. 



As if the threats posed by IV drug use in homeless encampments in the Seattle area aren’t bad enough, recent news from Vancouver, British Columbia, should be of concern to those in Washington State.  Vancouver is just a short drive north of our border, and we expect it’s only a matter of time before this new health threat makes its way south.

All the more reason that cleanup of any homeless encampment (or even cleanup from just one squatter) should be left to biohazard cleanup professionals who are trained and have the equipment to deal properly with blood-borne pathogens like HIV.

DO NOT handle discarded needles and syringes without proper protective equipment.  Even better, contact a professional biohazard cleanup company to take care of it safely.

The challenge with cleanup of homeless encampments and squatters in the Seattle area is a major issue facing local governments, but it also can affect property owners living nearby those sites.  Discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia are routinely found in parks, near schools, behind retail establishments, and even on private property. It’s not enough to pick up the trash and dispose of it. In fact, unless you’ve been trained in biohazard abatement and have the proper protective equipment and disposal methods, you could actually be exposing yourself and others to health risks.

Our biohazard cleanup crews have been trained in the safe handling of used needles and syringes as well as the identification and removal of other health threats associated with homeless dwellings.  We currently offer these services in the Seattle area. If you require homeless encampment cleanup in another area in the Pacific Northwest, please call us at (877) 684-9753 to see what is available.



As a biohazard cleanup company, we endeavor to keep ourselves educated on the threats posed by biohazards, especially bacteria.  A large portion of our jobs involve clean-up from bacteria such as hepatitis.  And we endeavor to keep our clients and followers up to date on the news relative to our industry in this area.  That’s why when we recently came across this article regarding a woman infected with e. coli, we wanted to share it with you.

The CDC classifies the bacteria e.coli as a Level I substance.  Biohazards in this category are not considered as posing a severe danger to human life, and it’s generally accepted that most who come in contact with e. coli will suffer a nasty bout with diarrhea and vomiting.  But the reality is that people die from e.coli infections.  Most of the victims are those whose health is otherwise fragile, such as the elderly, infants, and those with substantially compromised immune systems.  The diarrhea becomes bloody and anemia sets in.  But that’s not the worst of it.

photo credit: The New York Times

One side effect of e.coli is known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, which causes the kidneys to fail, resulting in dangerously high blood pressure and excessive fluid build-up in the body.  There is no known cure, only supportive treatment that can include dialysis and transfusions.

Currently there is major concern with e.coli outbreaks in various parts of the country.  These seem to be associated with precut romaine lettuce.  These occur periodically, and precut or prewashed leafy greens tainted with e.coli are often the source.

What can result?  Please read this article detailing the journey of an otherwise healthy young woman in her 20s who it is suspected contracted e.coli from arugula purchased from a local farmers’ market.  (Her father also consumed the argula and tested positive for an e.coli infection, but he did not become ill.  It is unknown at this point why some people develop severe illnesses and others do not.)

Biohazards are just that – hazards, even the ones classified as low-level risks.  There is some evidence that pre-cut and pre-washed produce is especially susceptible to contamination with the e. coli bacteria, and it is our recommendation that you avoid purchasing it.  Be aware that in order to develop an e. coli infection you must ingest the bacteria, so contact is required.  It is NOT an airborne threat.  Can you eliminate the threat by washing your produce?  Consumer Reports says it is inadequate.

Don’t take chances when faced with biohazard exposure.  Keep yourself educated as to the dangers and how to avoid them – and leave cleanup to the professionals like our company




You’ve probably used a hot air hand dryer recently, because they are becoming the norm in public restrooms.  They’ve been around for decades – in bathrooms everywhere from schools to restaurants to gas stations to shopping malls.

The reason?  They’re convenient, and in the long run they are less expensive. There are no paper towels to continually restock, there is no trash to dispose of, and restroom cleanup is simplified – no loose paper towels everywhere to be picked up.

But they also pose a severe health risk, in at least two categories:

  • The blowing air distributes any bacteria on your hands into the air, to be breathed by others or deposited on their skin
  • But what’s worse, that dryer is sucking the bacteria in the air released when toilets are flushed, and then spreading it on your hands
  • If a parent has recently used the diaper changing table that’s present in most public restrooms, those germs are being spewed about as well

Harvard Medical School recently published the results of a joint study by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University.  Here’s an excerpt:

Petri dishes exposed to bathroom air for two minutes with the hand dryers off only grew one colony of bacteria, or none at all. However, petri dishes exposed to hot air from a bathroom hand dryer for 30 seconds grew up to 254 colonies of bacteria (though most had from 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria). The Bacterial Horror of Hot Air Hand Dryers(Source: Harvard Health Publishing, “.”)

To protect yourself it’s best to avoid those air hand dryers. But it’s important to dry your hands as well. You may want to start carrying paper towels when you use a public facility and skip that germ-blowing hot air.  As a company that specializes in biohazard cleanup, we know how dangerous airborne germs can be.


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