A Sterilant by any other name will work as well…..

As outlined by OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard (29 CRF 1910.1030) addressed in a blog post from August 12, 2010 regarding when to sterilize, all critical instruments must be sterilized prior to reuse. The next question that comes to mind is how to sterilize. There are several sterilization techniques used in audiology practice with cold sterilization probably representing the most commonly relied upon method. Cold sterilization involves soaking instruments in EPA approved liquid chemicals for a specified number of hours. Products containing 2% or higher concentrations of glutaraldehyde (e.g. Wavicide) or 7.5% or higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (e.g. Sporox) are currently the only chemicals approved by the EPA as cold sterilants.  As long as a product contains one of these two active ingredients in the required minimum corresponding concentrations and approved by the EPA, it is considered a cold sterilant. The number of hours that critical instruments must remain submerged in a cold sterilant depends on the active ingredient of the specific product. Typically, glutaraldehyde products require a soak time of 10 hours whereas hydrogen peroxide-based sterilants require a 6-hour soak time. Soaking instruments for less than the minimum required time will yield high-levels of disinfection rather than sterilization; therefore, it is important to read and follow manufacturer’s instructions to ensure intended results are achieved.  For further clarification as to the difference between disinfection versus sterilization, access the Ask the Expert section under the topic of infection control via AudiologyOnline.

About AU Bankaitis

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD is a clinical Audiologist with extensive clinical, research, and business experience within the hearing industry. Dr. Bankaitis created this blog to educate her colleagues on viable product solutions for their patients and/or clinical practice.
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