Agencies Issue Notice on Use of Cleaners, Disinfectants on Medical Equipment

THE U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EPA and OSHA have collaborated to develop a public health notification describing the hazards of using excess cleaning and disinfecting liquids on certain electronic medical equipment, along with recommendations to avoid these hazards.

FDA stated that a broad perspective on contamination drives current infection control strategies that focus on cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces that contribute to cross-transmission of infections. Contaminated surfaces can include:

  • Surfaces and equipment with blood or other potentially infectious material.
  • Surfaces touched by gloved hands after glove contact with patients.
  • Surfaces touched by patients, and surfaces contacted by or in the vicinity of aerosols and spatter.
  • Surfaces about whose state of cleanliness the healthcare professional is uncertain.

Over the past two years, the relevant federal agencies have worked together to address problems associated with inappropriate use of liquids on electronic medical equipment. The problems included equipment fires and other damage, equipment malfunctions and healthcare worker burns. These problems involved infusion pumps, ventilators, patient-controlled analgesia pumps, sequential compression device pumps, telemetry physiological signal receivers and transmitters, infusion fluid warmers and infant anti-abduction sensors.

This notification, however, is not limited to these equipment types and may be relevant to any equipment that has unsealed electronic circuitry or components, such as computer workstations, handheld devices and other monitoring equipment. The equipment malfunctions could result in life-threatening events to patients such as over-infusion of medications, loss of life-supporting drug therapy and loss of patient ventilation.

To access the notification, go to www.fda.gov/cdrh/safety/103107-cleaners.html.

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