By Michael Hill
Mark Cznareski and Paul Lorcheim are two unassuming NJIT engineers who invented a chlorine dioxide-emitting machine to sterilize hospitals and other facilities.
“Our gas process has a little bit of an odor, it takes a little bit of time. So hospitals weren’t able to use that because they have a quick turnaround between rooms,” Lorcheim said.
But, a year ago they invented the torch — using ultraviolet rays — for personal reasons.
“We saw a need for hospitals as we always say we’re not getting any younger, we’re going to need a hospital. You hear about all the stories, people go in healthy, 1.8 million get infected there and 100,000 die every year,” Lorcheim said.
“It was designed for MRSA and VRE and Ebola’s stealing the spotlight,” said Cznareski.
Ebola seems to have put their Hunterdon County company — ClorDiSys — on the map.
Last year, they got an order for their chloride-dixoide-gas-powered treatment machines from the federal government and the World Health Organization, and a few weeks later they learned of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and connected the dots.
This summer, the Nebraska Medical Center ordered the UV torch — weeks before treating an Ebola-infected NBC News photographer.
Here’s how to use the torch works. First, wipe down any surface or room for bodily fluids. Then roll in the torch, plug it in, turn it on, close the door and come back in 15 minutes.
“What the torch system allows is it gets everywhere. When someone is wiping a surface down, it is extremely difficult to wipe down every surface. This allows, takes the user out of the process. It puts the torch in the room, the light shines everywhere, the light ‘gets’ everywhere,” Cznareski explained.
A spokesman for the Nebraska Medical Center says after decontaminating, “We’ve had good results using their technology to decontaminate our bio containment unit rooms after the departure of Ebola patients.”
ClorDiSys had been using the torch to sterilize places that had E. coli, salmonella and listeria.
“So it’s always low key, no real hoopla. They want us to keep quiet. The Ebola is very different,” Lorcheim said.
“But hospitals, bridal shops that have issues, they want it known that cleaning was done,” added Cznareski.
And word has spread quickly.
“Phone calls are off the hook as they say,” Cznareski said.
They added lines. Field 30 plus calls a day versus a few a day this summer. Calls come from homeowners and one man who wanted to put it in his car.
“It’s $15,000. Is that what you’re looking for?” said Cznareski.
Paul and Mark’s inventions do the obvious disinfect and sanitize surfaces, medical equipment and even rooms but potentially saving lives.
When asked if he doesn’t want to say they’re saving the world, Cznareski said, “No we’re just trying to make our little bit of it safer for people.”
Not bad for two modest men from Jersey who make all of their products right here in their home state.