As Community Regional Medical Center’s environmental safety officer, it’s Camille Boone’s job to make the workplace safer for employees and ultimately for patients. And for Boone, safer also means greener. “I’m on a mission to get rid of as many toxic chemicals as possible,” she said. “So I started with one of the worst, Glutaraldehyde, or Cidex-OPA.”
The pungent, oily liquid is used to cold sterilize heat-sensitive medical equipment. Contact can severely irritate eyes and burn the skin; breathing fumes can cause wheezing, nausea, headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness and eventually chronic asthma.
Boone helped guide the switch this summer to a new eco-friendly technology called Trophon® EPR that’s even more effective in disinfecting ultrasound probes and no longer requires employees to don personal protective equipment and use ventilation hoods during processing, or use chemical neutralizers to dispose of the waste left over after sterilizing. Boone estimates once the hospital completely switches over to the eco-friendly disinfecting technology 1,000 gallons of toxic Glutaraldehyde would be removed from the hospital environment.
Trophon disinfects probes using hydrogen peroxide. Byproducts of the Trophon sterilizing process are water and oxygen and cartridges that can be disposed in regular trash. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using hydrogen peroxide as a high-level disinfectant to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses.
And even better for employees, said Boone, the Trophon disinfection takes just 7 minutes and the safe, compact disinfecting device can be used in exam rooms. With the more toxic chemicals disinfecting time is three times as long and must be done in clean room away from patients.
Erin Kennedy reported this story. Reach her at MedWatchToday@communitymedical.org