Bleach, known formally by its chemical name sodium hypochlorite, has a long tradition of use as a disinfectant. It also has a long list of dangerous potential effects. It is toxic, causing skin burns at high concentration, and in chemical reaction with certain acids and ammonia it can produce chlorine, which is a severe irritant to eyes and lungs.
So, how can one safely combat microbial infestation on hard surfaces?
- There’s the disinfectant Microban but it is not the way to avoid chemical danger. In fact, its sale is banned in California and North Dakota. It contains o-Phenylphenol, which is on California’s Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer. And at $65 per gallon, it is not an economical alternative to bleach.
- Ethyl alcohol has been verified effective against numerous viruses as well as bacteria but is ineffective as a sporicide. It is also flammable at the concentrations required for maximum effectiveness as an antimicrobial agent.
- Then there’s formaldehyde. In aqueous solution (brand name Formalin), it is an effective tuberculocide, sporicide, virucide, fungicide, and bactericide. Unfortunately, it is also damaging to humans in its presence. OSHA has listed it as a potential carcinogen, and protracted contact in the air or on the skin can lead to respiratory problems and dermatitis.
- What does that leave? The common household disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide. It is effective against bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and spores. One downside to its use as an environmental surface disinfectant is the dwell time required, which is dependent on the microorganism under attack. Against Streptococcus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas it requires 15 minutes, while against S. aureus, S. marcescens, and Proteus mirabilis, it takes 30-60 minutes (at 3% solution).
- There are also a handful of more recent additions to the list of compounds recognized as disinfectants, such as Ortho-Phthaladehyde (OPA), Phenols, and Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QATs). Phenols have been granted disinfectant status by the EPA, for use on hard surfaces but have not been granted high-level disinfectant status by the FDA, for use on semi-critical devices. Phenols and QATs are not effective against gram-negative bacteria.
Whichever of these alternatives one chooses, there are commonalities.
- Dwell time is crucial to effectiveness.
- Frequent reapplication is required.
- Dilution affects effectiveness.
SafeHandles products provide the uncommonly effective alternative: one-time application and lasting antimicrobial efficacy. Unlike all the options noted above, SafeHandles cannot be washed by water or these active disinfectants. That enables SafeHandles to work with all these active liquid disinfectants to create a passive sanitizing solution that works continuously to reduce the presence of illness causing microbes.