Microorganisms such as bacteria exist everywhere in the planet. A square inch of your skin might contain more than 600,000 bacteria1, and possibly the number of bacteria a person is carrying is 10 times the number of cells in the body. Mostly harmless to the humans, but pathogenic bacteria can cause illness and even death. Other Microorganism or Microbes includes fungi, viruses, algae, archaea and protozoa. The three main common threats generally comes from Virus, Bacteria and Fungi (mould and mildew). These microbes can cause infectious disease, therefore it is important that we ensure our environment maintains high level of hygiene.
The process of disinfection is the process of destroying or eliminating the microbes with the use of either a Physical (e.g. Heat), Chemical (e.g. Disinfectant) or Radiation (e.g. Microwave or Radio wave) method. As Physical and Radiation disinfecting process needs heavy equipment and setup, therefore it is common to disinfect with antimicrobial agents or a chemical disinfectant. Disinfectant do not limit to surface cleaners, it can also provide Air disinfecting. They can be either vapour, mist or gas disinfectant.
There are a wide range of disinfectant.
- Chlorine and chlorine compounds
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA)
- Peracetic acid
- Peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide
- Quaternary ammonium compounds
Therefore it is important to choose the correct one that suits the need and safety requirements.
Some manufacturer mislead consumer that their product can eliminate all microbes, but that is not always the case. An example of Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATs) or sometime known as benzalkonium chloride, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of USA .
Results from manufacturers’ data sheets and from published scientific literature indicate that the quaternaries sold as hospital disinfectants are generally fungicidal, bactericidal, and virucidal against lipophilic (enveloped) viruses; they are not sporicidal and generally not tuberculocidal or virucidal against hydrophilic (nonenveloped) viruses14, 54-56, 58, 59, 61, 71, 73, 186, 297, 748, 749. ”
This shows that QUATS is not effective against all strains of HFMD. Also with its residual effect, it is not recommended for use around young children.
1Science Clarified. “We Are Surrounded.” Scienceclarified.com. http://www.scienceclarified.com/scitech/Bacteria-and-Viruses/We-Are-Surrounded.html (Accessed February 21, 2016.)