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What's In Your Disinfectant and Why Does It Matter?

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What’s in a disinfectant? The better question is “what’s in the formula?”

Disinfectants are a crucial part of any operatory cleaning regimen. Their chemical compounds are the key to achieving a clean surface that’s disinfected well beyond what soap and water can do, but therein lies the rub—you have to be careful about the toxicity of chemicals that are sprayed and/or wiped onto surfaces that patients and staff come in contact with.

In 2012, the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, published its EWG Cleaners Hall of Shame, which exposed household disinfectant products on the U.S. market that are loaded with toxic compounds banned in some countries. Some ingredients are known to cause cancer, blindness, asthma and other serious conditions, according to the EWG.  The group points out that many Americans assume that government bodies oversee the safety of the household cleaning products industry; however, it is largely unregulated. These are everyday products that consumers can buy for their homes, and it raises concerns about the chemicals used for infection control in healthcare.

Thankfully, there are manufacturers who are committed to peeling back the label on their disinfectants, and sharing information about toxicity. One such manufacturer is SciCan, the makers of OPTIM 1, an intermediate-level disinfectant listed as category IV, the EPA’s lowest toxicity category. Intermediate-level disinfection, one of three levels, is a CDC definition meaning the disinfectant kills mycobacterium, most viruses, and bacteria with a chemical germicide registered as a "tuberculocide" by the EPA. The EPA’s category IV means the cleaner is relatively non-toxic, and signals “caution” to the consumer, as opposed to a danger or warning signal. OPTIM 1 also has no harsh chemical smell like some other disinfectants.

A sustainable solution, OPTIM 1’s active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, which breaks down into water and oxygen, and leaves no active residues. All of the ingredients in OPTIM 1 are on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inerts List, the FDA GRAS list, and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 21 Food Additives List. It also does not require any GHS Hazard Pictograms, signal words, or statements.

SciCan has positioned OPTIM 1 wipes as “the perfect balance” of protection and efficacy, and focuses not only on the product’s  formula but also on its 1-minute broad-spectrum contact time for all clinically relevant microorganisms. This EPA validated one-step cleaner and disinfectant solution removes organic debris as it disinfects, saving practices time and money.  

OPTIM 1 is safe for use on plastics, non-porous fabrics, and with hard surfaces such as lights and countertops. Surfaces must remain wet for the entire 1-minute contact time to achieve disinfection. SciCan also notes that OPTIM 1 can be used to disinfect dental chairs and stools, but it’s important to remember the best practice of wiping all surfaces weekly with water to prevent surfactant build-up.

If you want to know more about OPTIM 1 and what’s inside, SciCan offers safety data sheets, peer-to-peer studies, and frequently asked questions. Learn more at www.scicanusa.com/optim1.

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