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Inventor Sells More Sanitizer Due to H1N1

With the spread of H1N1 and other viruses, people in the Ozarks and across the U.S. are trying to find ways to keep themselves germ-free. A Springfield man is trying to stop the spread of H1N1 and other germs with sanitizing products he invented on his own. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.

Back in the 1970s, Richard Williams caught a staph infection from a newly built hospital after donating a kidney to his sister.

Williams says after that life-threatening experience, he started thinking of new ways to kill as many germs as possible with one product.

He says years later, he became a hospital administrator and his goal was to make sure all the rooms in the hospital were clean and germ-free.

“You can send a team in to clean up a hospital operating room or a hospital room itself, and you can wipe it from top to bottom, but if you miss just a square foot area, you might as well not have cleaned it,” Williams said.

Williams says he had an idea when he was using a bug bomb, a can that sprays a fog of insecticide through a room.

He realized that he might be able to use a similar mechanism to kill germs.

“We know that the germs are on the floor, they’re under the tables, we put them on our keyboards, they’re between the keyboards, and they’re on the mouth piece of our phones. These are areas that don’t actually get hit with falling spray, so the idea was if you fill a room with an engulfing fog that will engulf and wrap around items, then that fog, that disinfectant will touch every part of that room,” Williams said.

In 2005, Williams created “SafeSpace,” an Internet-based company that sold hand sanitizer and disinfectant room fogger.

Williams says the “SafeSpace” hand sanitizer doesn’t use alcohol to disinfect, but a different germicide called “Benzethonium Chloride.”

He says the hand sanitizer doesn’t dry out people’s skin like alcohol hand sanitizers do, but it still kills 99 percent of germs.

The “SafeSpace’ inventor says his business has grown nationwide and his products are in some retail stores.

Williams says the H1N1 flu virus has increased his business 10-fold in the past six weeks.

“We’ve gone from filling orders from a case here or a case. We’re now shipping products by pallets, literally week by week; pallets of product are coming in and going right out,” Williams said.

Williams says now, he’s working with local physicians and scientists to make the product stronger, so it could possibly kill germs for days or even weeks.

For KSMU News, I'm Kristian Kriner.