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FOCUS ON HEALTH — Mississippi towel takes aim at bacteria

SUMMER SANDERS

By ALEX JACKS

Whether athletic or not, most people can relate to life in a locker room where special precautions are taken to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Despite strict locker room hygiene practices, visitors tend to contract MRSA, E. Coli and other bacterial infections. In the past, the biggest culprit of these infections was the towel athletes used.

Laguna Blue, a Jackson-based company, opened its doors last year with a soft, eco-friendly, antibacterial towel that it says will help combat the spread of germs and diseases in all industries, not just sports.

Through a construction of microfibers, Laguna Blue towels trap bacteria with no chemical additives, making it difficult for harmful bacteria to multiple and spread, said Laguna Blue spokesperson and former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders.

The towels offer an abundant number of reasons as to why they are better than a regular towel, she said. Laguna Blue towels use a microfiber fabric that is non-linting, so bacteria cannot spread from contaminated linens to clean linens via lint. The towels also offer energy savings by using less water and less heat to get clean. The towels have a unique knit that absorbs liquid faster, yet dries twice as quickly as cotton towels.

“The antibacterial fiber in the towel can never wash out,” Sanders said. “I know that it has no lint. I’ve learned a lot about lint in this process — how toxic lint is — so that is refreshing. It uses 50 percent less water when washing.”

Based on years of research and science, the trapping microfiber technology of Laguna Blue towels have proven to be 99.8 percent effective in preventing the spread of germs and diseases, including MRSA.

Laguna Blue towels were created based on the personal experience of the company’s chief operating officer, Kenny Perry. In 2004, Perry fought for his life after contracting MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureaus) from a contaminated gym towel. Doctors contemplated amputating his leg, but he made a full recovery.

After the ordeal, Perry combined forces with Laguna Blue’s chief executive officer, Bert Rubinsky, to create a line of towels that would prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

“I know the story of the gym towel, MRSA and almost losing the leg,” Sanders said. “That was the catalyst, the inspiration, the motivation to translate this science and knowledge into creating this smarter towel.”

Perry’s story of fighting MRSA resonated with Sanders when she first heard about Laguna Blue towels.

Coincidentally, a friend of Sanders began working for Laguna Blue when she was battling a severe staph infection in the summer of 2014.

“I did not have to go on IV antibiotics, but I did have to use two different antibiotics to try to get rid of it. It was the third staph infection I had in my life, so I was very aware of the worry of it. The fact that I’m a swimmer — towels are literally the second most important thing to have in your swim bag besides a swimsuit.”

After hearing more about the antibacterial properties in the towels and the story behind them, Sanders said she knew she had to be a part of the revolutionary company.

“It’s funny how life sort of comes full circle,” she said. “You meet people when you’re supposed to. I met my friend and then she became a member of the company, and introduced it to me to these towels during a time when I needed them. I asked to be a part of the process. My whole family is made up of athletic people. These towels just fit our lifestyle.”

In all of her time as a swimmer, Sanders said she has never seen another towel like Laguna Blue.

“The technology is extremely unique,” she said. “I have never seen a towel with the effectiveness of covering your body, only to fold up to be the tiny size of Laguna Blue. These towels don’t hold water, which keeps you from feeling as soaked. They absorb like your favorite bath towel, but keep you healthy while doing it. I use the towels throughout my house. I am so grateful I have something I can trust.”

Sanders envisions Laguna Blue towels changing the way the sports, travel and restaurant industries operate.

“My goal and the company’s goal is that one day you will be able to point out all the Laguna Blue towels at the beach, at gyms around the county, in hotels or in a restaurant. They will be the towels that everyone wants, needs and knows they should have. I think once people learn how unique the towels are, they will become an industry standard for all of those areas of service, leaving an economic impact in each.”

With Sanders onboard, Laguna Blue has increased its effort in marketing the towels to a variety of markets, she said.

“The big movement will begin May 1 when Laguna Blue launches its beach towel,” Sanders said. “We’re hoping Laguna Blue towels will be people’s biggest summertime purchase.”

Laguna Blue towels are available online at Walmart and Amazon. They cost $34.56 for a set of two bath towels, $19.40 for a four pack of hand towels and $21.85 for six washcloths. For more, visit lagunabluetowels.com.

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