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New research highlights potential corrosive impact of some chlorine-based disinfectants
New research has highlighted the potential corrosive damage to medical devices caused by ongoing exposure to some chlorine-based disinfectants. This could result in infection risk as well as expense in replacing damaged equipment, according to Synergy Health, which commissioned the laboratory tests.
Research findings were presented to clinicians by Sharon King, Senior Product Manager for Synergy Health, at The Infection Prevention Society Conference on Tuesday.
The study tested the corrosive impact of two market leading hypochlorite cleaning solutions alongside chlorine-free AzoMaxActive disinfectant, which contains Byotrol technology.
An immersion test was undertaken in the laboratory to compare the corrosiveness of the three solutions on a range of test substrates frequently used in the construction of medical devices, such as hospital bed frames and mattress covers.
The test results, it is claimed, showed that the chlorine-based solutions had a major detrimental effect on the stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminium alloy and sections of a high performance two-way stretch mattress cover. The AzoMaxActive solution had no effect on the stainless steel and mattress cover samples - showing some signs of corrosion to the carbon steel and aluminium samples, but to a far lesser extent than the hypochlorite solutions.
Testing was performed in accordance with Standard Practice for Laboratory Immersion Testing and undertaken over a six month period. Disinfectant solutions were replaced every seven days and samples photographed for comparison purposes after seven, 28 and 154 days. Each disinfectant test solution was tested at 1000 and 3000 ppm, with a sample of each substrate immersed into the appropriate concentration of disinfectant solution at ambient temperature.
The findings follow a medical device alert (MDA/2010/002, January 2010) by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) which warned of the dangers of cross infection through contamination caused by damaged mattresses. The MHRA instructed healthcare Trusts to dispose of damaged covers, de-contaminate affected mattress cores and implement a frequent inspection regime.
"Anecdotal evidence suggesting that mattresses and bed frames can suffer damage following exposure to chlorine based disinfectants is now borne out by the laboratory tests," said Sharon King. "Damage to mattress covers is particularly serious from the perspective of infection risk, and there are major financial implications for healthcare Trusts who are faced with the significant cost of replacing corroded equipment."
Previous clinical research conducted by microbiologists at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust showed that AzoMaxActive products were more effective in destroying bacteria and micro-organisms than chlorine-based solutions. During the 11 month clinical trial AzoMaxActive was proven to reduce environmental MRSA levels by 33% compared to wards cleaned with hypochlorite.
The residual effectiveness of AzoMaxActive enables it to continue killing micro-organisms for days after it has been applied to a surface. Conventional technologies, including hypochlorite, are only effective for a limited time after application to a surface.
"There is growing evidence to challenge the 'gold standard' status of chlorine-based solutions as the cleaning and disinfectant agent of choice," argues Sharon. "Research demonstrates that there is a more effective alternative that is also gentle on equipment."
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22nd September 2011