Continuing from last week. The article titled Disinfectants and Surface Compatibility is one of the most relevant articles I have read in a long time. Kelly Pyrek does a great job of covering all areas and quoting the experts in the field. One expert, Linda Lybert says “sometimes it takes extreme action to prove a point”.

In a January 2012 study in Journal of Hospital Infection, Vickery cut pieces of out of ICU surfaces following terminal cleaning. The surface samples were viewed under a microscope and researchers were surprised by what they saw. Biofilm was visible on the surface of the sterile supply bucket, the plastic door, the venetian blind and sink stopper. Viable bacteria were grown from the samples, including MRSA from the blind cord and curtains.

Lybert says manufacturers must provide information on surface compatibility and disinfectants and the end users must follow the guidelines. Manufacturers often test specific chemicals on their products but not disinfectants with multiple active and inactive chemicals. Lybert says “it truly is a science and manufacturers of both the surface materials and the disinfectants must understand that each can have an effect on the other.”

This article clearly shows that just understanding disinfectants and proper procedure for use is not enough. Environmental and facility managers must know how surfaces react with the disinfectant used. If the disinfectant is breaking down the surface it used on, efforts to reduce the spread of infection will not be successful. All parties involved have a part in the future of disinfectants and surface compatibility.