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 polyethelene 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.
For infrared testing, the same hemp blend was analyzed resulting in a test result of 0.893, or nearly 90% resistant. Different blended fabrics have the potential to increase the percentage of this initial test, especially fabrics with a higher percentage of hemp. Many of hemp’s applications will benefit our military, and EnviroTextile’s hemp fabrics have recently been approved by the USDA as Federally Preferred for Procurement under their BioPreferred Program.
Thirty one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 19 have passed pro-hemp legislation. The potential for military and national adoption of hemp appears to be moving forward expeditiously considering a decade’s long ban. As science continues to “rediscover” the benefits of hemp for society, the solution is emerging from the fog of prohibition. Hemp is no longer an ancient fiber and it is well on its way to be the future of fabric.
EnviroTextiles is woman-owned industrial hemp and natural fiber manufacturing company with their headquarters in Glenwood Springs, CO, and is the largest manufacturer/importer of hemp and natural fiber textiles and products in the United States. EnviroTextiles proudly sells their products in the U.S. and to over 70 countries worldwide. The company presently has their presence in the US, China, and Mexico, and focuses on natural fiber resources and economic development in regions with commodity levels of various natural fibers.
1. Survival of Enterococci and Staphylococci on Hospital Fabrics and Plastic – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC86187
2. San Francisco Chronicle, “HEALTH / High staph infection rates in hospitals stun public health officials / New study reports lethal drug-resistant bacteria widespread” – http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/HEALTH-High-staph-infection-rates-in-hospitals-2554708.php
For more information please contact:
Phone: (970) 945-5986
3214 South Grand Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601