Healthcare needs to adopt the term "Biocide"

In healthcare, you are much more likely to see the term "sterilant chemical" than in other industries, which use the term "biocide".  This takes away from what is actually happening when sterilizing instruments. These instruments are being cleaned with different chemical biocides, mainly being, Hydrogen Peroxide, Ethylene Oxide and Peracetic Acid. But what exactly does “biocide” mean and what do biocides do?

If you break up the word “Biocide” into its key components, you get the Latin words “Bio” and “Cide”. 

In Latin, “Bio” means life, and refers to anything alive; from a tiny amoeba to a 100 year old tree to a human being. You may also recognize “Bio” from the word “Biology,” which is the study (“ology”) of life.

“Cide,” on the other hand, means “killer” or “slayer” in Latin. It refers to the death of something, such as a pesticide (the killing of pests) or herbicide (the killing of weeds and other plants (herb)).

Now put the two parts of the word back together to form “Biocide.” The words quite literally means the “killing or destruction of life,” and that’s exactly what biocides like Peracetic Acid, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Ethylene Oxide do. They kill all the microbials (which are alive) on whatever it is the chemicals touch, be it medical equipment or a poultry carcass. This makes them very useful, but also potentially dangerous to any workers who are exposed, since these chemicals are designed to kill.

Sterilization department employees deserve to be safe and comfortable in their workplace.  Adopting a term that explains perfectly what they are working with, will only make their case for safety stronger.

This is why continuous monitoring is important in an environment that uses biocides. Using the ChemDAQ Steri-Trac® continuous monitor will assure that your employees stay safe, and will help protect your employees from those biocides.