Infection Control Week happens to be one of my favorite weeks of the year. As a total germ nerd, there is nothing more exciting to me than education pertaining to the prevention and control of harmful microorganisms. But, as much as I LOVE education, my absolute pet peeve is when education is not backed by scientific evidence and therefore becomes BUNK. We see it all the time with new celebrity health crazes such as cupping and detox diets, but did you know there is also a whole bunch of Disinfectant Bunk out there as well? Join me as we unravel the top 3 disinfectant bunk!
Bunk #1: The Claims Game
Did you know that many disinfectant manufacturers will contain a shopping list of pathogens on their product label in order to look more effective? Instead of looking for disinfectants with the greatest number of efficacy claims, we want to look for disinfectants with the most applicable claims. There are different classes of pathogens, each with surrogate organisms that are reflective of the gold standard or more difficult to kill pathogen in that class such as:
Vegetative bacteria: Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.
Fungi: Trichophyton mentagrophytes
Mycobacteria: Mycobacterium bovis or Mycobacterium terrae
Bacterial Spores: Bacillus subtilis and Clostridium sporogenes
When cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, it is important to consider what pathogens are relevant to patients and the facility and focus your attention on a disinfectant formulation that provides you with a balance between effectiveness and minimal toxicity to increase user compliance.
Look at Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® (AHP®) for example, on our product label, you won’t see a ridiculous number of efficacy claims, instead we focus on the pathogens that matter for all our low level, intermediate level, high level and sporicidal disinfectants. Furthermore, we know that AHP® is extremely effective as it has been proven to reduce HAIs by 20% saving facilities thousands of dollars!
Bunk #2: 24 Hour Sanitizing
How many of you have seen the phrase for liquid disinfectants “Continues to sanitize for up to 24 hours, even after multiple touches”? Seems too good to be true doesn’t it…that’s because it is! What marketing literature doesn’t tell you is that surfaces need to remain clean in order for the disinfectant to keep on sanitizing for 24 hours. Furthermore, what this also indicates is that this product doesn’t readily degrade, but rather builds up in the environment leaving an active residue behind. Studies show that disinfectants that leave an active residue behind on surfaces contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance, a major global health crisis we are currently facing. Instead look for disinfectants with actives that readily degrade into the environment such as hydrogen peroxide! In fact, AHP® breaks down into water and oxygen leaving no active residues behind, ensuring that it won’t contribute to antimicrobial resistance.
Bunk #3: Green Claims
With the global movement to become more environmentally sustainable, many disinfectant manufacturers claim to be green by putting their own “green” logo on their disinfectant label. Just because a product claims to be green doesn’t mean that it is. Product environmental preferability claims should be validated by credible third party certifications (such as EcoLogo, Green Seal, Green Guard, and Design for the Environment (DfE) that have been designed to ensure strict standards are followed in the formulation of cleaning and disinfection products. A number of AHP® based cleaners and disinfectants meet both industry and government requirements to be labeled a “green” product, in fact, a variety of AHP products have received DfE, EcoLogo, Green Guard and Green Seal certification.
Marketing can be sneaky and can unfortunately lead to believing in a lot of bunk! That’s why it’s so important to make educated and informed decisions about the products we use and ensuring that they have been validated by third parties so we can effectively and efficiently combat germs in the war against microbes!