I am continuing a blog I posted last week on disinfectants and surface compatibility. Linda Lybert, president of Healthcare Surface Consulting, is an expert on surface material selection and disinfection compatibility. In a recent article, Lybert discusses that many infection control practitioners do not worry about the types of surface materials in their facility. They are focused only on the disinfectants used. She says that the lack of awareness about surface materials, disinfectants and the role they play in infection transmission and prevention is a perfect example of why decision makers should be educated on compatibility.

Jon Otter, PHD, of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, conducted a poll on the most important reservoir associated with HAIs. 90% of the poll respondents said contaminated hands. Only 5% said contaminated surfaces. This may be the reason we can’t get a good hold on the spread of infection in healthcare and the community.

Lybert urges healthcare facilities to consider what materials they choose and what chemicals they use to disinfect. I think this information is so important it must be taken into other facilities where the spread of infection is common. Just to name a few: sports locker rooms, class rooms, dorms and offices. She says, “it is not enough to learn every physical characteristic of a given surface and surface material or to become an expert in the latest disinfection agents and protocols. This data must be combined with an understanding of microbiology, the physical environment and insight into human behavior.”

Disinfectants and Surface Compatibility, Kelly M. Pyrek, Infection Control Today, April 2016