By Peggy Spitzer, MA, Ed. – Clinical Education Department
There is a well-publicized movement to reduce healthcare associated infections (HAIs) driven by ethical and financial concerns. Technicians and managers in Central Supply and Sterile Processing departments are now under greater scrutiny by the Joint Commission (a hospital accrediting group) as a vital link for infection prevention. AAMI ST79 is a major quality benchmark used by Joint Commission site inspectors to determine compliance with infection prevention protocols. AAMI is the Association for Advancement of Medical Instrumentation and their ST79 Standard is a comprehensive guide to cleaning and sterilizing surgical instruments.
Why is this of interest to Certol International and our industry partners and clients? Central Sterile Departments are major end-users of Certol detergents and other decontamination products. They depend on Certol quality products to make their work easier and more efficient.
One of the many components of the ST79 document is a guideline statement about the appropriate properties of instrument lubricants. In section 7.5.6, from the latest 2009 updates we find this information: “Water soluble instrument lubricants, specifically designed for compatibility with sterilization, may be used.” “Instrument lubricants containing mineral oil or other oil bases should not be used, except to lubricate the internal mechanism of powered instruments . . .”
How should we interpret this statement? First, the majority of instrument lubricants currently on the market, both concentrates for automated washers and ready to use sprays, are mineral oil based. They can be recognized by their opaque white appearance as the mineral oil is not soluble in water and exists as a suspension of mineral oil droplets. This opaque white color is where the common term “milking instruments” comes from. Mineral oil has the potential to interfere with sterilization as it creates a non-permeable oily layer between steam and the instrument surface.
Certol’s ProLube Concentrate and ProLube RTU spray are currently the only mineral oil-free, totally water soluble lubricants available for the medical market. Using a food grade lubricant ingredient, Certol chemists have created a clear, non-toxic, true solution that improves function of jointed items without sticky, oily build-up. The ProLube product is available in both concentrated versions (order code #PLC) for use in the lubrication cycle of automatic washer systems and in a ready to use spray (order code # PLR) for targeted application on jointed areas of clean instruments prior to packaging and sterilization.
Avoid the slippery slope of mineral oil based lubricants with ProLube !