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September/October 2008
UpDate

handwashHygienic Handwash/Handrub Agents

ASTM International Committee E35 on Pesticides and Alternative Control Agents has now published the third in a series of three standards that address the activity of hand hygiene agents against microbes that can be transmitted via contaminated hands. Subcommittee E35.15 on Antimicrobial Agents developed the new standard, E2613, Test Method for Determining Fungus-Eliminating Effectiveness of Hygienic Handwash and Handrub Agents Using Fingerpads of Adults.

“The fingerpad methods can be used to test handwash as well as handrub agents,” says Syed Sattar, E35 member, professor emeritus of microbiology and founding director of the Centre for Research on Environmental Microbiology, University of Ottawa. “When testing handrub agents, they can determine the incremental removal or inactivation of the target organisms after exposure to the test formulation itself, post-treatment rinsing with water and the terminal drying of hands.” Sattar notes that the microbes to be tested are relevant in health care settings, as well as in settings in which food is processed, handled or served.

Researchers in hand hygiene, manufacturers of hand hygiene formulations and government regulators for post-market monitoring of label claims are all potential users of E2613.

The other two standards in the series of hand hygiene agent standards developed by Subcommittee E35.15 are E1838, Test Method for Determining the Virus-Eliminating Effectiveness of Liquid Hygienic Handwash and Handrub Agents Using the Fingerpads of Adult Volunteers, and E2276, Test Method for Determining the Bacteria-Eliminating Effectiveness of Hygienic Handwash and Handrub Agents Using the Fingerpads of Adult Subjects.

“All three standards are quite unique in that they are fully quantitative while incorporating all the essential elements of how hands are routinely decontaminated,” says Sattar, who notes that both E1838 and E2276 are currently listed in the World Health Organization’s guidelines on hand hygiene.

Sattar says that the subcommittee invites participation in its standards developing activities from all interested parties, particularly those in academia and those involved in government regulation.

CONTACT

Technical Information: Syed Sattar, Centre for Research on Environmental Microbiology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Phone: 613-562-5800, ext. 8314

Staff: Jennifer Rodgers

Phone: 610-832-9694