Vice President, Professional & Technical Services, Virox Technologies
The COVID-19 pandemic caught many of us off guard. There’s been panic, uncertainty, and fear. The pandemic has meant a crash course on the subjects of germs, their transmission, and how to deal with an outbreak. As we begin the slow journey of opening up once more, businesses need to focus on doing their part to protect their staff and clients. As a society, we have a heightened sense of social vigilance with our newfound knowledge of zoonotic diseases, hand hygiene, physical distancing, and keeping our environment safe via disinfection.
Must be wet to disinfect
Many of today’s disinfectants evaporate before they have a chance to completely kill pathogens.1 It’s essential that businesses and the general public understand that disinfectants must reach the wet dwell time (the length of time the surface needs to stay wet) as listed on the product label in order to achieve disinfection. If the label indicates a contact time of 10 minutes, the surface needs to stay wet for 10 minutes. For this reason, the best disinfectant products must be capable of staying wet throughout the length of the contact time listed on the label.
As we begin the slow journey of opening up once more, businesses need to focus on doing their part to protect their staff and clients.
Avoid poison control
Many of today’s disinfectant chemicals are a threat to human and animal health.2, 3 Accidental poisonings associated with disinfectants have more than doubled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety profile and the potential health risks of a disinfectant must be assessed. Some disinfectants can cause permanent eye, skin, and mucous membrane damage, some are potentially carcinogenic, and some have been shown to induce asthma.2, 3
Business owners are required to provide a safe work environment. When providing disinfectants for staff to use, training and access to personal protective equipment also need to be considered.
Whether at work or at home, focus on the areas that are most frequently touched: this might include doorknobs, faucets, light switches, TV remotes, cell phones, and keyboards. These surfaces are often highly contaminated with pathogens and we may not think to wash our hands after touching them.
Many disinfectants evaporate before achieving disinfection. Using disinfectants that stay wet for required contact time will increase product effectiveness.
Some disinfectants have labels that are ambiguous. Due diligence is required to effectively select disinfectants to meet regulatory compliance.
Some disinfectants may pose a health risk to users, patients, clients, and the environment. Using a disinfectant with a preferred safety profile will increase user safety.
Good, but not good enough
In the post-pandemic era, people are going to question the things they had previously taken for granted. Companies that communicate what they’re doing to make a positive impact on the world will attract people, providing a sense of community that staff and clients can be proud to stand behind. The pandemic provides a unique opportunity for businesses to show how responsible they are.
In cases of emerging viral pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19), Health Canada uses the broad-spectrum virucide concept to determine whether a disinfectant is expected to kill it.4, 5
Strategic businesses plan for the future. Choosing to use a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills more than 99.9% of bacteria and carries a broad-spectrum virucidal claim shows you’re thinking about future outbreaks and investing in the long-term health of its staff and clients.
The war against pathogens
As disinfection is one of the key tenets for breaking the chain of infection, at Virox® Technologies our focus is on educating and developing disinfectant technologies to combat the shortcomings of legacy disinfectants currently used around the globe.
Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® (AHP®) provides the perfect balance between safety and efficacy. The patented technology uses the power of oxidation to clean and disinfect surfaces as it dries slowly to ensure disinfection has occurred. From SARS and norovirus to pandemic influenza and now COVID-19, AHP® has been on the front lines, fighting outbreaks and helping to save lives.
Nicole Kenny is the Vice President of Professional and Technical Services at Virox® Technologies Inc., a Canadian company on the front lines in the war against pathogens, specializing in the development of patented disinfectant technologies. Nicole’s passion for educating also includes a weekly blog called Talk Clean To Me that discusses infection prevention and the use of disinfectants.
- Omidbakhsh, N. Theoretical and Experimental Aspects of Microbicidal Activities of Hard Surface Disinfectants: Are Their Label Claims Based on Testing Under Field Conditions? JOURNAL OF AOAC INTERNATIONAL, 2010, 93(6):1-8.
- Acute Antimicrobial Pesticide-Related Illnesses Among Workers in Health-Care Facilities – California, Louisiana, Michigan and Texas, 2002-2007. MMWR May 14, 2010;59(18):551-556.
- Arif, AA, Delclos GL, Serra C. Occupational exposures and asthma among nursing professionals. Occup Environ Med. 2009;66:274-8
- Government of Canada, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): For health professionals.
- Government of Canada, Guidance Document – Disinfectant Drugs, January 2018.