Fumigation of the Future - Article Abstract

By Gill Power

Alternatives to Formaldehyde fumigation

After just over six months into my new job here at Cherwell Laboratories and much to my surprise, I was asked to contribute an article of my choice to a magazine called the Medicine Maker.  The Medicine Maker covers a wide range of topics and news about the pharmaceutical industry.  As much experience as I have in environmental monitoring, my real specialist subject is fumigation, specifically with formaldehyde.  Before I joined Cherwell Laboratories, I was leading a project looking at alternative chemicals and systems to formaldehyde fumigation, which as you may know is extremely nasty stuff!  Therefore, I chose to focus my article on this subject.  Here is an abstract from that article, titled “Fumigation of the Future” which can be found in issue #0316 of the Medicine Maker.  This part of the article looks at alternative technologies to formaldehyde:

The Pros and Cons of Alternatives to Formaldehyde

All methods come with their pros and cons, and some claim greater efficacy than others (see Table 1).  Some may be more corrosive and some will have limited penetration.  Hydrogen peroxide, for instance, has limited efficacy against certain pathogens.  Since the quoted study (5), there are now hydrogen peroxide based disinfectants with additional chemicals to make them more efficacious.  These include the addition of peracetic acid or silver cations, which claim enhanced efficacy for different reasons.

Whichever method of fumigation you choose, do make sure that it is validated to the standard you require, whether against a particular pathogen, or by reducing the bio burden in that area by a specified amount.  The method needs to be repeatable and reliable.  Do also consider the cost and efficiency of the chosen system.  Keep in mind not just the setup costs, but the down time of your facility as a result of the fumigation process too.  The shorter the fumigation process, the sooner your facility will be back in action.

Table showing alternatives to formaldehyde in the fumigation process

We spoke to one of our customers to get feedback from someone within the industry with first hand experience of using formaldehyde.  Find out what they had to say about formaldehyde.  We'd love to hear your comments on your experiences with formaldehyde and your opinions on the future of fumigation, so please, contact us or tweet us.

Andrew Ramage Microbiologist Product SpecialistAndrew Ramage,

Microbiology Product Specialist,

Cherwell Laboratories



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