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Soapbox: Why British and Irish Hospitals have banned bleach
By Michael Gately, CEO of Medentech. Medentech is based in Wexford, Ireland with offices in New Jersey, USA
"Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is no longer used in any British hospital for surface cleaning and disinfection, yet contrary to popular myth, bleach has never been 'banned' by the National Health Service. What is it then that has driven bleach from being the go-to disinfectant to something that would now be seen as highly unusual in a British hospital setting?
The short answer is COSHH regulations. For those not familiar with health & safety legislation in the UK, COSHH stands for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, and is an overarching program to reduce the health risk from chemicals to both workers and the public or, in the case of hospitals, patients.
COSHH covers all hazards and all aspects of employment in the UK, and is a risk assessment based approach. Fundamentally every chemical used is reviewed and a determination is made to see if there is an equally effective alternative that presents a lower overall risk to health & safety. In evaluating disinfectants used in UK hospitals, the NHS made a determination that an alternate to bleach based on Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC) was just as effective as a disinfectant, including when used as a sporicidal, but did not have the same level of health risk or cause as much damage to hospital equipment and the environment as bleach.
NaDCC is delivered in a fast-dissolving tablet form, reducing transportation and storage costs compared to bleach, and has an excellent safety rating with a HMIS of 1. The in-use dilution product presents a pH of between 6 and 7 presenting a neutral range and hence reducing both the potential damage to equipment and the environment.
With all those benefits, NaDCC still presents a very broad spectrum efficacy with EPA registered claims to address Clostridium difficile spores, Norovirus, HIV, HBV, gram negative bacteria, gram positive bacteria, a number of non-enveloped viruses and Mycelium tuberculosis in the US. Further, the EPA has registered NaDCC for sporicidal use at 4300 ppm compared to most bleach registrations that are between 8,500 and 10,000 ppm when used as a sporicidal - less chemistry results in less damage and less health risk.
Nobody would dream of using bleach in British hospitals anymore, it has been entirely and permanently replaced by NaDCC tablets. The reasons include, corrosiveness, safety, smell, eco-credentials and real measurable efficacy advantages over bleach, at much lower concentrations."
Brulin ( www.brulin.com ), which is based in Indianapolis, has recently introduced NaDCC tablets to the US healthcare market, and is encouraging people to discover why the NHS dumped bleach for a safer more effective sporicidal disinfectant."
19th November 2015