Information Technologies in Public Health Management: A Database on Biocides to Improve Quality of Life

Article excerpt

Abstract

Background: Biocides for prolonging the shelf life of a large variety of materials have been extensively used over the last decades. It has estimated that the worldwide biocide consumption to be about 12.4 billion dollars in 2011, and is expected to increase in 2012. As biocides are substances we get in contact with in our everyday lives, access to this type of information is of paramount importance in order to ensure an appropriate living environment. Consequently, a database where information may be quickly processed, sorted, and easily accessed, according to different search criteria, is the most desirable solution. The main aim of this work was to design and implement a relational database with complete information about biocides used in public health management to improve the quality of life.

Methods: Design and implementation of a relational database for biocides, by using the software "phpMyAdmin".

Results: A database, which allows for an efficient collection, storage, and management of information including chemical properties and applications of a large quantity of biocides, as well as its adequate dissemination into the public health environment.

Conclusion: The information contained in the database herein presented promotes an adequate use of biocides, by means of information technologies, which in consequence may help achieve important improvement in our quality of life.

Keywords: Database, Biocides, Public health, Management, Information technology

Introduction

The number of biocides used in public health has considerably increased over the last years. It has been estimated the global biocide consumption to be about 12.4 billion dollars in 2011, and it is expected to increase in 2012 (1). Biocides are substances used to prevent the development of microorganisms (bacteria, mold and fungi), which leads to the materials deterioration (2-5). So, the main roles of biocides used in the public health care are: a) to prevent and control the infections caused by pathogenic microorganisms on food, drugs, cosmetics, clothes, etc.; b) to maintain the quality of those products for a longer period of time (6).

Information on biocides may be of extreme importance when ensuring an appropriate living environment. We get in contact with them in our everyday lives (for example, in products we ingest or those we use for cleaning). Regardless of how they are used, biocides affect our environment to a certain extent. An adequate knowledge on their chemical properties and risks for the environment and living organisms may result in minimizing unwanted side effects, by selecting that substance which fulfils the requirements demanded for a certain application. On the other hand, the employ of technologies in the management and access to information is being highly demanded by society. On these grounds, a database where information may be quickly processed and sorted, and easily accessed to, is the most desirable solution for both goods producers and final consumers (7). The elaboration of a specialized database to permit the distribution, through the internet, of information on the physico-chemical properties and antimicrobial activity of biocides to different local public health-related institutions would be very welcome (8-11).

A database (hereinafter referred to as DB) stands for an ensemble integrated of records or files, reunited and structured in a logical way, which has been designed to satisfy the information demands of an organization or a group of users (12-15). Nowadays, there are a large number of databases available on the most varied topics, each of them designed as a unique resource to be used by multiple users at same time. However, not much work has been carried out on chemical substances with antimicrobial activity. Furthermore, current databases have a limited number of search criteria, which very often do not totally meet the users' requirements. …

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