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Antiseptic Products Can Be Contaminated: Study
Date:12/6/2012

o these products than have been reported, because this method of contamination is quite difficult to detect.

"Sometimes it's really tricky to trace where an organism came from," explained Dr. Mohamed Fakih, medical director of infection prevention and control at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit. He said that most hospitals use one product to clean the skin before surgery, but even if that product is contaminated, not everyone will get sick from it. And, because everyone -- both the sick and healthy -- had the same product used on their skin, it's difficult to isolate the antiseptic as the cause of the infection.

In the case of single-use products, such as an alcohol swab, by the time someone has reported an infection, the packaging is gone and can't be tested for contamination, Fakih added.

Contamination of these products can occur during manufacturing or at the point of use, according to previous research. Products that have been found to be contaminated include iodophors (antiseptics that contain iodine), alcohol products, chlorhexidine gluconate (used in hand sanitizers and as a pre-surgical antiseptic), and quaternary ammonium (an antiseptic used to clean surgical and medical procedure equipment).

The FDA is currently reviewing whether or not sterile manufacturing should be mandated for topical antiseptics that are meant to be used on broken skin, such as from injury, medical procedures or surgery. Public hearings on the subject are scheduled for Dec. 12 and Dec. 13.

Fakih said he believes that these products should be manufactured under sterile conditions. If the FDA doesn't mandate sterile manufacturing processes, he said it would be very helpful if they at least mandated that labeling contain information about whether or not the product was manufactured in sterile conditions. He said it's very difficult to find that information right now.

Hirsch said when using these types of products, it's important to remem
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