[Pharmwaste] hand sanitizer effectiveness studies referenced in Medline presentation

Suhr, Marcus W. MSuhr at ChristianaCare.org
Fri Oct 16 09:34:17 EDT 2009

The two studies the rep displayed statements from were (Kramer A et al.
(2002) from the Lancet 359:1489-1490, and Rupp ME et al. (2008) from
Inf. Cont. Hosp. Epid 29:8-15.  

I thought it odd that the rep would discuss studies which seem to
undermine his points about improving hand hygiene by utilizing
sanitizers more.  A couple of excerpted conclusion statements from
Kramer were that "tested alcohol hand-gels may be insufficient to
prevent the spread of pathogens" and "should be considered a retrograde
step for hand hygiene... not first choice agents".  The Rupp study
concluded "improvement in the hand hygiene adherence rate was not
associated with detectable changes in the incidence of
healthcare-associated infection."

I don't profess to read clinical research articles on a regular basis
and I don't know Rupp or Kramer, but the Medline rep made it sound like
they were respected researchers.  I have long held the belief that
sanitizers were developed to supplement a standard hand hygiene program
based on a myriad of reasons.  What I am hearing and seeing is, hand
sanitizers are starting to dominate as a primary technique and creating
more headaches because the other considerations (flammability,
occupational misuse, disposal) are not being fully discussed, not to
mention alternatives to hazardous components. 

I am well aware, you can make a study say almost whatever you want it to
say by designing it a certain way, but some facts are uncontrovertible.
There is question about whether hand sanitizers are truly effective in
reducing nosocomial infections.  There is no question about the
flammability of most of these alcohol based products.

Marcus Suhr, CSP 
Industrial Hygienist 
Christiana Care Health Services 
Occupational Safety Department, Office L840J 
4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road 
Newark, DE 19718 
302-733-3787 (office)
302-573-7662 (pager) 
302-733-3771 (fax) 
MSuhr at christianacare.org

-----Original Message-----
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Sent: Friday, October 16, 2009 8:43 AM
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Subject: Pharmwaste Digest, Vol 48, Issue 11

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