Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Skinny on Disinfectants

This blog is for those of you on rebreathers! Historically in South Africa we use Buddy Clean to disinfect our machines, the question is, is this the best choice ? I have taken the content of this blog from the ANDI manual on rebreathers. Their content in turn is based on a study conducted by the Department of R&D, Canada in 2002.
The study had two criteria that had to be met for a product to be recommended for use:
1) The product had to exhibit an absence of components that would case undue risk to human health during use that could not be prevented by reasonable protective measures
2) Proof had to be available that the disinfectant was effective
Interestingly, the report showed that 7 products commonl used were unacceptable. These were:
- Buddy Clean (gulp)
- Confidence Plus
- Sanizide Plus
- Advance TVE
- Bi-Arrest 2
- Cavicide
- Listerine Antiseptic
Only two products were found to be fully acceptable, Virkon S (the product of choice) and Trigene II. Unfortunately at the time the study was released there was no version of Virkon available for human use (its origin is agriculture). There is now Virkon (without the S)
Some info on Virkon:
- It has been extensively tested and proven tot be a broad spectrum disinfectant, considered bactericidal, virucidal (both enveloped and non-enveloped), fungicidal and a tuberulocidewhen used at its intended working concentration of 1% for a min soaking time of 10 minutes.
- It comes in a number of package sizes.
- It is no deactivated by detergents or hard water, but may leave a residue if recommended decontamination procedures are not followed
- If used as prescribed, it is not deleterious to the health or equipment of divers and is effective against almost all microorganisms to which a diver may be exposed.
- Extended soaking of metal objects may cause corrosion/ damage and deactivation of the product more quickly (recommended soaking time is 10 minutes).
- A 1% solution is table for a week.
- Good infection control practice indicates that disinfectant solution should be changed daily, but this is unnecessarily wasteful. If the solution loses colour within the subsequent 7 day period it should be replaced
Interestingly ANDI and Juergensen Marine recommend a standard solution of 1% beta-dine solution for disinfecting.
If you are looking for alternative, here is the list recommended by ANDI (in order of preference)
- Virkon
- Virkon S (the agricultural version)
- Trigene !!
- Microban Disinfectant Spray (an ANDI product)
- Commercial Hospital Use disinfectant solution such as Beta-Dine 1
- Buddy Clean
- Alcohol
- 10% Bleach Solution
- 50% Vinegar, 50% water
Based on these findings, Liquid Edge is importing Virkon and it is way more affordable than our usual products. Try one tablet that makes 0.5 litre for R30!

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