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Friday, July 18, 2008

Hospitals Now Favoring Benzalkonium Chloride Hand Sanitizers; discarding alcohol-based gels

For those within the hospital industry, below excerpts from Neticasolution should lend a hand as you watch your peers toss out alcohol-based hand sanitizers and opt for a safer, friendlier and equally effective product to maintain proper hand hygiene protocols within your facilities.

Applications are extremely wide ranging, from disinfectant formulations to microbial corrosion inhibition in the oilfield sector. It has been considered one of the safest synthetic biocides known and has a long history of efficacious use. It is currently used in human pharmaceuticals such as leave-on skin antiseptics, hygienic towelettes, and wet wipes. Ethanol-free benzalkonium solutions are often used for skin disinfection prior to withdrawing blood for blood alcohol content tests.

Benzalkonium chloride solutions are rapidly acting biocidal agents with a moderately long duration of action. They are active against bacteria and some viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Bacterial spores are considered to be resistant. Solutions are bacteriostatic or bactericidal according to their concentration

Newer formulations using benzalkonium blended with various quaternary ammonium derivatives can be used to extend the biocidal spectrum and enhance the efficacy of benzalkonium based disinfection products. This technique has been used to improve virucidal activity of quaternary ammonium-based formulations to healthcare infection hazards such as hepatitis, HIV, etc. Quaternary ammonium formulations are now the disinfectants of choice for hospitals. This is on account of user and patient safety even on contact with treated surfaces and the absence of harmful fumes. Benzalkonium solutions for hospital use tend to be neutral to alkaline, non-corrosive on metal surfaces, non-staining and safe to use on all washable surfaces.

Some products have been reformulated in light of this research, but it is still widely used in eyewashes, hand and face washes, mouthwashes, spermicidal creams, and in various other cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants.

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