Safety

Report: Worker health paramount when choosing disinfection products

Hospital Safety Insider, June 23, 2016

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Healthcare employers should consider the safety and health of workers when choosing which environmental disinfection products to use for reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAI) among patients, according to researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

In "Notes from the Field" published in the April 22 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, NIOSH researchers reported the results of a health hazard evaluation at a Pennsylvania hospital where an employee reported concerns about health symptoms that seemed to be related to use of a new disinfection product.

The product, which had been introduced to help control HAIs, consists of hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid, and peroxyacetic acid. The report does not name the product, but describes it as a non-bleach sporicide advertised as a one-step cleaner, disinfectant, and deodorizer. According to the manufacturer's SDS, the product requires no PPE when it is diluted with water by an automated dispenser before use.

NIOSH researchers found that environmental services employees' exposures to the hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid in the product were within recommended exposure limits, and the third ingredient, peroxyacetic acid, was not subject to a limit. However, they speculated, it is possible that the mixture of hydrogen peroxide and peroxyacetic acid contributed to symptoms reported by workers, and existing exposure limits may not be protective against asthma-like symptoms.
   
This is an excerpt from the monthly healthcare safety resource Briefings on Hospital Safety. Subscribers can read the rest of the article here. Non-subscribers can find out more about the journal, its benefits, and how to subscribe by clicking here.
 



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