Cleanroom Methods of Chemical Sterilization
Cleanliness is essential in any production or healthcare environment where a person or product could carry pathogens. Pathogens adversely affect the sick or immunocompromised. Extraordinary measures in decontamination and sterilization ensure that products, packaging, and tools will not serve as vectors and transmit bacterial, fungal, spores, or viruses to vulnerable patients.
Research laboratories, hospitals, cleanrooms, and drug compounding facilities all require frequent and thorough contamination control. The process is generally labor intensive and requires special consideration to prevent exposure of workers, patients, and caregivers. Efficacy, cost, labor, and toxicity all determine how and where disinfectant or sterilizing agents are applied. In tandem, the most sensitive environments are also subject to intensive oversight and procedural requirements from governing bodies.
Disinfecting large areas with precision and a high degree of microbial count reduction (log reduction) is challenging. Each type of disinfectant/sporicidal agent has its advantages and falls backs. Chemicals aggressive enough to kill fungal and bacterial spores often produce hazards, such as exposure to carcinogens gases, respiratory irritation/damage and chemical burns. In rare cases, inadequate protective equipment can lead to direct ingestion, eye splashes, or transdermal absorption through the skin.
For medical device and healthcare practices, the approach to disease and infection control is multifaceted. Gas-based sterilization methods often require long periods of downtime for the facility to outgas and filter harmful aerosols and particles that can remain suspended in the air for days at a time. A full kill of all microbes that don’t require partial or facility-wide evacuation may not have the same efficacy.
Advantages of Peracetic Acid Solutions
Peracetic acid (PA) is broad spectrum cleanroom disinfection and sporicidal agent: it doesn’t leave behind residue, it remains active during exposure to organic materials (such as blood), it’s environmentally friendly, and is effective against microbes and spores with a rapid cycle time.
Contact time is an important measure of cleanroom disinfection and sterilization principles. Peracetic acid solutions allow up to 95% faster disinfection times than conventional systems. A cleanroom treated with formaldehyde may require 3-5 days before an operation is resumed. Unlike formaldehyde, PA does not require special ventilation systems and smells like vinegar. PA forgoes the use of aldehydes which create toxic vapors and require extensive surfaces cleaning to remove residual residues. A room treated with PA is capable of achieving a 6 log reduction of microorganisms in as little as 3 hours for the entire processes.
Beyond its use for disinfection of high purity water systems for medical device manufacturing, it is also appropriate for poultry processing plants, canneries, dairies, breweries, wineries, including food and beverage facilities.
What’s the Advantage of Dry Fogging Peracetic Acid Over 100% Hydrogen Peroxide Fogging System?
The half-life of vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) is often problematic for large-scale room decontamination. VHP must reach a target surface within 10-20 seconds for its properties to remain effective. This requires numerous vaporizers, large quantities of chemical use, and more advanced dispersion processes.
Dry fogging penetrates normally inaccessible areas resulting in a more thorough disinfection. The fog is capable of reaching underneath furniture and up to high corners and ceiling surfaces.
Green-Friendly & Environmentally Safe Disinfection Properties
The chemical is fully biodegradable, breaking down into acetic acid, oxygen, and water, over an extremely short time (usually 30-90 minutes), and is compatible with common surfaces encountered in a cleanroom environment. While it should be handled with care in its concentrated form, it doesn’t require unusual handling procedures or ventilation systems.
Demystifying Cleanroom Foggers
Dry foggers provide economical fogging solutions for smaller facilities of up to 900 sq. ft. and full-scale systems for facilities as large as 35,000 sq. ft. Every cleanroom application is different. Because these systems improve outcomes for operators and environments, they are used in limitless applications from agriculture and food processing to sterile bio-medical environments.