The world's historic fight against COVID-19 has brought to light many previously hidden pain points impacting our front-line workers and most vulnerable populations. Splashblocker and Canopy are two companies inspired to create products that address these pain points — providing greater protection as well as comfort, ease of use, and peace of mind for front-line workers and patients. Eastman Tritan™ copolyester proved to be an ideal material for these new innovations because of its transparency and ability to withstand the frequent disinfection and cleaning required in healthcare settings.
- The Splashblocker is a transparent shield made with Tritan that is used to protect healthcare workers, patients, caregivers and visitors from the dangers of exposure to toilet plume aerosol. Invented by an oncology nurse, this novel barrier control reduces risk to healthcare professionals and other at-risk individuals from exposure to pathogens and harmful chemicals such as chemotherapeutics and antineoplastics, that are routinely encountered in healthcare settings when toilets are flushed. Tritan's cleanability and chemical resistance to 30+ commonly used disinfectants was key to its selection by Splashblocker.
- Canopy is a reusable, transparent respirator that uses Tritan for the housing of its patented filter core. Canopy was founded at the onset of COVID-19 in response to healthcare worker requests for a superior alternative to N95 respirators. The result is transparent, highly breathable, comfortable and reusable, enabling front-line workers to do their job without the fear of putting themselves or their loved ones at risk. Tritan enables the Canopy filter cartridge to be fully transparent, allowing for a crystal clear front lens that provides a window into the user's facial expressions and emotions. Tritan also protects the filter core itself from any significant wear and tear, allowing it to have a long-lasting life span.
"Eastman has been exceptional to work with," said Brian P. Crawford, co-founder and CEO of Splashblocker. "Their expertise in manufacturing has been extremely helpful in the incorporation of injection molding to make the Splashblocker®."
During its mold-building process, Canopy also worked closely with the Eastman technical team, experiencing their total-solutions approach to working with customers.
"The requirements for the resin used in this component were very specific," said Joe Rosenberg, founder and CEO of Canopy. "We were seeking a durable, chemically resistant and water-clear material. Finding a thermoplastic that was relatively inexpensive and met all those requirements proved challenging. Tritan strikes the balance beautifully."
Seeking input from critical stakeholders in the healthcare industry played a key role in the design and development of both The Splashblocker and Canopy.
Creators of the Splashblocker have now carried out two very positive user-experience trials, with the most recent documented in a 2020 white paper with Premier Applied Sciences. Bioaerosols produced by toilet flushing contribute to environmental contamination and pathogen transmission in healthcare settings. This is an under-recognized infection prevention and control issue, rapidly gaining attention and focus. Crawford added, "We are excited to have just received a Technology Breakthrough Agreement from Premier Inc. as a technology that reduces these exposures."
Leadership at top health systems are anxiously anticipating Canopy. "It cannot come soon enough. Given the significant limitations, drawbacks and shortages of existing PPE, we are eager for our staff to begin testing Canopy in the clinical setting," said Dr. Yves Duroseau MD MPH, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, part of Northwell Health, New York's largest health system.
Likewise, Eastman relies on input and collaboration across the value chain in the development of its medical grade polymers.
"Healthcare providers must focus on reducing infections and a key to that is the cleanability of products," said Brad Potter, Eastman's marketing director for specialty plastics for the medical market. "In developing our medical grade polymers, we listened to healthcare industry professionals. They need material that stands up to the most commonly used disinfectants in healthcare environments and won't crack or craze. With Tritan, manufacturers can bring medical devices to market approved for an exhaustive list of cleaners and with the testing to demonstrate their devices are made to last."
Splashblocker LLC is committed to improve the safety of nurses, patients, caregivers and healthcare personnel worldwide. Today, due to globally emerging infectious diseases like coronavirus and drug resistant pathogens like Clostridioides difficile, exposures to hazards generated by toilet plume aerosols can elicit a greater risk than in years past. Toilet plume aerosol that results from flushing lidless toilets after disposing chemotherapeutically-tainted human waste routinely exposes nurses and caregivers through direct skin contact and microbial inhalation. Those aerosol exposures can result in occupational illness and/or infection. The inventor of the Splashblocker is an oncology nurse with more than 15 years of experience. For more information, visit www.splashblocker.com.
Led by Google, Johns Hopkins, DaVita, and Boston Scientific alumni, Canopy is dedicated to protecting the world's well-being by creating sustainable products that increase user comfort, safety, and performance. The medical device startup's flagship product, Canopy, is a supremely comfortable, transparent, and reusable respirator, designed to address the top shortcomings of current N95 disposable respirators. For more information, visit www.onecanopy.com and follow us on social media.