Cleaning, Decontamination, Sterilization

  1. Did You Know?

    Did You Know?
    Fan/Filter Units Do More Than Meet ISO Requirements—they also prevent infection.

    Most cleanroom professionals understand that FFUs capture contaminants that degrade particle-sensitive samples. But they also remove bacteria and many viruses and mold spores that contribute to a host of infections.

    Most common bacteria are contained by the 0.3-micron pore size of high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filters. Ultra-Low Penetration Air (ULPA) filters, which are rated 99.999% efficient at retaining particles of 0.12 microns and larger in diameter, capture ultra-fine contaminants, including many large viruses and mold spores.

    These filters also remove aerosol-born pathogens—germs that hitch a ride on larger particles and liquid droplets that are captured in a HEPA or ULPA filter. HEPA- or ULPA-based Fan/Filter Units (FFUs) thus can play an impor

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  2. Ultraviolet Disinfection: Crucial Link in the Sterilization Chain

    Ultraviolet Disinfection:  Crucial Link in the Sterilization Chain

    Many manufacturers face the challenge of maintaining sterile products and processes. In most cases, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Highly effective sterilization technologies like ethylene oxide gas (EtO) or hydrogen peroxide vapor carry substantial risk and often come at a high cost. Frequent manual wipe-down with IPA or other cleaning agents is much less expensive but introduces difficulties related to operator training and process documentation and consistency. In many cases, the challenge amounts to managing multiple technologies that provide microbial control throughout widely differing processes—while minimizing costly disruptions for bioburden testing or decontamination routines.

    Fortunately, ultraviolet sanitizing technology provides a range of safe, cost-effective disinfection measures that simplify this task, whether employed as a stand-alone measure or as part of a broader

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  3. Cleanroom Recommended Gowning Protocol - Dirty Link in the Ultra-Clean Chain?

    Manufacturers invest hundreds—even thousands—of dollars per square foot of cleanroom space to meet ISO-proscribed particle counts. Shouldn't the same standards be required of the people who enter and potentially contaminate this ultra-clean environment?

    Proper cleanroom garments, including hoods, face masks, booties and gloves, help to contain particles that people emit. Yet improper gowning procedures can negate your investment in cleanliness and threaten yields of sensitive semiconductor devices. Once a garment is contaminated—violated by contact with a dirty surface—it spreads particles everywhere it goes.

    You can train personnel on proper garmenting procedures, but how do you guarantee compliance? A violated garment doesn't set off alarms, and few facilities can afford quality control monitors to supervise every person through every washing and dressing stage. Yet if strict controls are not obser

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  4. Two Leading Decontamination Methods: UV-C vs. HPV

    Two Leading Decontamination Methods: UV-C vs. HPV
    Staph aureus

    Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacterium. Photo credit: CDC

    Controlling microbial contamination is one of the leading concerns in research, clinical, and medical facilities. Microorganisms (hazardous or not) can put personnel, patients and caregivers at risk. In hospital and medical facilities, patients are often immuno-compromised or have serious conditions that make them particularly susceptible to opportunistic microbes or secondary infections.

    For these reasons, many products are available for decontamination of these critical spaces. There are differences in product effectiveness, cost, potential residual damage and operat

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  5. What is the Best Sterilization Method for Your Lab?

    What is the Best Sterilization Method for Your Lab?

    Sterilization is a process designed to destroy and remove all forms of life present in a certain region. It’s accomplished by use of physical or chemical means. Autoclaves, for example, steam sterilize by high pressure and heat (250°F/121°C at the low end).

    Another sterilization-by-heating technique uses infrared to kill microorganisms in a few seconds using temperatures up to 1500°F/815°C. On the chemical front, hydrogen peroxide can break down cellular tissue.

    BactiZapper™ Infrared sterilizer by Benchmark Scientific

    BactiZapper™ Infrared sterilizer from Benchmark Scientific

    Sterilization can also be used to el

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  6. Labware Cleaners: The Roles of Autoclaves and Washers

    Labware Cleaners: The Roles of Autoclaves and Washers

    The cleaning and sterilization of laboratory, clinical, surgical and compounding equipment is necessary to ensure patient safety and accurate results. In research laboratories, improperly cleaned or sterilized glassware and instruments opens the door to unwanted contaminants. Contaminated objects can also endanger laboratory personnel through exposure to mutagenic or toxic substances.

    In clinical labs, contamination can lead to erroneous test results, jeopardizing patient treatment regimens or diagnoses. In surgical and pharmaceutical facilities, improper sterilization of equipment or compounding preparations can expose patients to a wide range of microbes and endotoxins. Thus, labs must develop and document washing and sterilization protocols that produce reliable results and ensure safety.

    According to a Frost and Sullivan survey published in Lab Manager Magazine, 60% of laboratory budgets are spent on consumable products. Another 30% of the total budget i

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