Global industry analysts’ predictions indicate that the global disinfectants market will reach $2.9 billion by 2017, driven by increased focus on hygiene and growing concerns over the spread of infectious diseases both at home and in public places. Rising demands in the food and healthcare industries will drive the market. In those industries, cleaning and sanitation are vital for safety. Disinfectant chemicals are also becoming more common as an ingredient in various conventional and industrial cleaning products.
Using products in high-touch areas in hospitals and patient rooms plays a key role in reducing hospital acquired infection (HAI) transmission. Because disinfectants are a non-negotiable product, the market has been resilient to recessionary pressures, according to GIA. Recent outbreaks of infectious diseases such as H1N1, avian influenza, pertussis, the common flu and others, as well as many states’ requirement to report infection rates, have made spending on cleaning and disinfectant products indispensable.
Increasing pressure from hospitals to disinfect surfaces and patient rooms efficiently and effectively – against a wide range of viruses and bacteria – has driven manufacturers to create products that are more widely applicable and that work more quickly. According to the CDC, hospitals should aim for a disinfectant that works in three to five minutes. If the disinfectant takes longer than five minutes to evaporate, it is considered less effective. But traditional disinfectants with longer effective times provide other benefits. Quaternary ammonium compounds and alcohol combinations are effective against a broader range of pathogens, according to Infection Control Today.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that across the U.S., one out of every 20 patients contracts an infection in the hospital. Patients’ immune systems are often compromised, and there is the potential for viral and bacterial cross contamination from surfaces that can cause infections. The culprit is often invisible, hard-to-kill bacteria that can survive for weeks on hard surfaces found in every hospital patient room, such as counters, phones or handrails.
C. diff is one of the most common, costly and hard-to-prevent infections. According to the CDC, deaths related to C. diff are at an all-time high, with more than 14,000 occurring last year. C. diff can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
Irena Kenneley, Ph.D., APRN-BC, CIC, adjunct member of the nursing faculty at American Sentinel University, which offers an online Infection Prevention and Control Certificate program, notes that 34 states now require hospitals to publicly report their rates of infections, and that number is expected to increase. Published studies indicate that health care facilities with trained IPs on staff have lower health care-associated infections. Hand-washing is key, Kenneley says, but surface disinfectants are equally important in preventing the spread of HAIs.
Aerosol and liquid products are the most commonly used surface disinfectants, though a growing number of hospitals are implementing ultraviolet (UV) disinfection systems as an additional measure. According to the CDC, “The application of UV radiation in the healthcare environment (i.e., operating rooms, isolation rooms and biologic safety cabinets) is limited to destruction of airborne organisms or inactivation of microorganisms on surfaces.” UV radiation inactivates microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids in bacteria and viruses.