Virox Insights Blog

Does your disinfectant suffer from Safety Indifference Syndrome?

Posted by Olivia Lattimore on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 @ 12:03 PM






We know that chemical disinfectants are widely used in infection prevention, as such, our reliance on them is imperative. When choosing a disinfectant, it seems the focus revolves around what the disinfectant kills and costs, forgetting about other criteria such as the level of safety a disinfectant offers. Research has indicated that disinfectant products have the potential to contribute to respiratory hazards including the onset of asthma or exacerbation of existing asthma. Additionally, disinfectants have been associated with acute illness reports among workers, primarily affecting the eyes and skin. A 2010 report by the CDC highlighted that the most common active ingredients responsible for illnesses were Quaternary ammonium compounds (38%), glutaraldehyde (25%), and sodium hypochlorite (18%). The majority of the types of injuries associated with the use of disinfectants were: 222 eye injuries, 130 neurologic injuries (headaches), and 121 respiratory injuries. These occupational human health hazards not only have negative physical implications, but also negative economic impacts both directly and indirectly. And did you know that it has been shown that disinfectants which are perceived as toxic by staff are less likely to be used correctly, reducing user compliance and increasing the risk of pathogen transmission? 

Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe working environment for staff and patients which includes choosing disinfectants that are not going to cause harm to staff or patients. Choosing an effective disinfectant with the best safety profile will not only prevent the transmission of harmful pathogens but will aid in the prevention of workplace incidents. Unfortunately, most disinfectants have to compromise between safety and efficacy with the focus being more on what the product can kill. This compromise is often made as it is a common belief that due to their toxicity to microorganisms, disinfectants are also toxic to human health resulting in user apprehension and decreased compliance.

So how do you identify the safety profile of a disinfectant? The best way to know is by reading the products Safety Data Sheet (SDS), which is a summary document that provides information about the hazards of a product and advice about safety precautions. On the SDS, sections 2 and 11 should be reviewed to identify product hazards and toxicological data. Pay special attention to section 2 which is an overview of the disinfectants hazards identification. This section will tell you the GHS classification, signal words, hazard pictograms and precautionary statements. Ideally, you want your disinfectant to not be classified by GHS and have no hazard pictograms or hazard statements. Furthermore, section 11 will provide you the toxicity results of the disinfectant. All disinfectant manufacturers must have their products tested for oral, dermal, and inhalation toxicity by a third party laboratory. These results ultimately determine the content that’s required in section 2.


Is it possible to have a disinfectant that is both effective and safe? Do you need to compromise one for the other? The answer is NO! Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® (AHP®) based disinfectants are based on chemical synergies. What this means is that instead of adding more chemicals to make our disinfectants more effective against germs, we play with the formula until we get a new synergy. This results in enhanced formulas that offer a faster, and better efficacy without compromising user safety. AHP® is designed to be non-toxic, non-irritating, and non-sensitizing. At the in-use dilution, AHP® is not classified under GHS, has no associated hazard pictograms, and no hazard statements. Furthermore, AHP® does not utilize any ingredients that are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or have reproductive toxicity, giving user’s confidence that they won’t be harmed by their disinfectant if used according to the label directions.

So why compromise when you don’t have to? Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® (AHP®) based disinfectants have accomplished the balance between safety and efficacy like no other. I hope this will lead you to evaluate your current disinfectant choice within your facility and review with your team the pros and cons. Download our Safety Checklist to evaluate your disinfectant today!




Insightfully yours,

Olivia Lattimore





Topics: Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide, AHP, disinfectant, compliance, infection prevention, SDS, biosecurity, infection control, safety, occupational hazards, OSHA

Norovirus- A Pain in the…

Posted by Mikeisha Paul on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 @ 03:45 PM

So you survived the hustle bustle of the holiday season unscathed, perhaps a few pounds heavier but unscathed nonetheless. Then it happens: the nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains and cramps, diarrhea and just the feeling of being unwell. After a day or so the symptoms won’t let up so you go to the local emergency room just to be safe. The doctor tells you to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest and you go home and hope for the best. The only thing is, you have Norovirus and now have just unwittingly contaminated the very place you went to for help – the hospital emergency room. Hospitals are typically prepared
for the worst at all times but with the amount of people that pass the ER door each day and   typically short turnover time, this could potentially be a serious problem.

In reality, there are two possible outcomes: one good and one bad.

Here’s the good outcome – a result of planning, training and action, based on current infection
prevention information:

Let’s go back to the ER waiting room for a moment. I forgot to mention that you took at least 2 trips to the washroom while waiting to be seen and when you finally arrived in a room for assessment, you vomited. At this point you are thinking, “This bug that I’ve got is a royal pain!” and you couldn’t be more right because although you and your partner  did a pretty good job of cleaning up, there are probably thousands of virus particles that have contaminated the environmental surfaces in that room quietly waiting for new hosts. Not to mention that your partner is feeling a bit queasy too. Luckily, the nurse is aware of your potentially infectious state and informs the environmental services (EVS) worker of the appropriate cleaning measures to take before entering the room.

The instructions are, “This patient most likely has norovirus, so treat this room as if it were an isolation room”. The concern with norovirus is that it doesn't take much of the virus to make
someone sick, so as a result extra care needs to be taken when cleaning a room contaminated with norovirus to prevent the spread of infection.

The EVS worker is not alarmed by this because the right tools are available to prevent the spread of norovirus from room to room. Training has been provided with the appropriate protocols and the EVS worker feels extremely confident that the disinfectant he/she is about to use to clean this potentially hazardous room will do the job it’s intended to do – kill norovirus. Does the disinfectant at your facility have a norovirus claim? This facility has implemented a great prevention program and the EVS worker knows the products he will use are fast and effective against Norovirus in 3 minutes or less, making compliance a breeze! How long does it take the disinfectant at your facility to kill norovirus?

See, what you didn’t know is this hospital was aware of the importance of a norovirus claim when determining which disinfectant to use in their facility. The burden of nororvirus in a facility can be tremendous when you consider the increased cost of bed closures, nursing, infected staff and infection control expenses. It goes without saying, that Norovirus is expensive. A single norovirus outbreak can cost up to $65,190 [1] and with increased disinfection efforts, that cost can drop to $40,040! Using that same example, if you increase that single occurrence to 5 norovirus cases, the cost reduction can be as much as $99,363 [2], that's an outstanding savings!! The last thing any institution needs is a disinfectant that is not equipped to handle the job.  Most disinfectants do not have a norovirus claim! Talk about inconvenient... Good thing all of our Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) products are effective against hard to kill pathogens such as norovirus in the US and Canada. In the US, AHP EPA-approved disinfectants are available under the brand names Accel TB Ready-To-Use, Accel TB Wipes and Accel Concentrate. In Canada, AHP Health Canada approved disinfectants are available under the brand name Accel PREVention (EcoLogo Certified) and Accel INTERVention.

Accel Norovirus blog image

According to the CDC,  the price tag for norovirus is $2 billion in the US due to cost of healthcare and lost productivity! It seems that if norovirus itself isn't enough of a pain (in the you know where!) the bill definitely will be! It begs the question of why institutions would even choose to continue to carry the financial burden of not having an effective norovirus disinfection program when they can choose AHP and save. Routine cleaning and disinfection with an effecitive disinfectant such as Accel, can help facilities prevent and stop Norovirus outbreaks in their tracks.

On that note let's leave the bad outcome for another day!

Insightfully yours,


[1] Impact of an outbreak of norovirus on hospital resources. Walter Zingg, MD. Carlo Colombo, RN, MPH; Thomas Jucker, RN; Walter Bossart, PhD; Christian Ruef, MD. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, vol.26, No. 3 March 2005; pp. 263-267.

[2] Economic value of norovirus outbreak control measures in healthcare settings, 2010 by B. Y. Lee, Z. S. Wettstein, S. M. McGlone, R. R. Bailey, C. A. Umscheid, K. J.  Smith and R. R. Muder

Topics: Accel, Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide, Norovirus, healthcare, AHP, cleaning, environmental cleaning, environmental services, compliance, contact time, EPA, healthcare aquired infections, hydrogen peroxide, pathogen, superbugs, surface, wipes, DIN


  • Insights--Blog.jpgOlivia is a passionate member of the Professional and Technical Services (PTS) team and is dedicated to educating readers on the importance of Infection Prevention and Control..