Decontamination of Work Surfaces

Since environmental contamination is an effective method of disease transmission for HBV (the CDC states that HBV can survive for at least one week in dried blood on environmental surfaces or contaminated needles and instruments), cleaning of contaminated work surfaces after completion of procedures is required to ensure that employees are not unwittingly exposed to blood or other potentially infectious material remaining on a surface from previous procedures.

Contaminated work surfaces must be decontaminated with an "appropriate disinfectants" include a 1:10 diluted bleach solution, EPA-registered tuberculocides (List B), sterilants (List A), or products registered against HIV/HBV (Lists C and D). The National Antimicrobial Information Network provides an online list.

Important Guidelines:

  1. Check the product label for EPA registration and/or consult the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists of registered sterilants (representing the highest level of antimicrobial activity that destroys all viruses), tuberculocidal disinfectants (effective against tuberculosis bacteria and the specific viruses named on the product label as well as the hepatitis B virus), and antimicrobials with HIV/HBV efficacy claims for verification that the disinfectant used is appropriate.
  2. Follow the label instructions regarding the amount of disinfectant and the length of time it must remain wet on the surface.
  3. Bleach:
    1. A solution of 1:10 diluted household bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) made up monthly (every 30 days) is considered appropriate for decontamination of sites following initial cleanup (i.e., wiping up) of spills of blood or other potentially infectious materials.
    2. Contact time for bleach is generally considered to be twenty minutes or the time it takes the product to air dry.
    3. Solutions of bleach should not be stored in glass containers, but in material such as the plastic in which the bleach, the consumer product, is packaged in.

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