An influx of new disinfectant products onto the market since the beginning of 2020 has given consumers huge choice when it comes to selecting the right products to use in their business or organisation – but with more choice, comes more complexity.
With so many new brands, each making bold claims about the efficacy of their products, it’s hard to choose, and easy to be misled by impressive-sounding sales pitches. It’s important to remember that with any new product coming to market, there are checks and balances in place to protect you as the consumer and help you make informed choices – you just need to know what to look for.
In the UK, standards of quality for goods and services are set by the British Standards Institute and products or services that conform to the standards are prefixed with BS. Many products are double prefixed with BS EN – indicating that they comply with agreed joint British and EU quality standards.
There are a whole range of BS EN standards, each individually numbered and relevant to different products and industries. BS EN standards are for voluntary use which means manufacturers are not obliged to comply with them – but legal compliance often becomes an issue later in the supply chain if retailers or end users are required to use compliant products in order to achieve compliance within their own governing bodies.
It’s important for consumers to be aware of the standards that apply to products they are considering for use, and how these standards differ. For instance, there are lots of BS EN standards relating to bactericidal disinfectants. They differ according to the method of testing, the bacteria they kill, and the environments they are intended for.
So what are the key things to look out for?
BS EN testing methods
Disinfectants are usually tested in suspension, or on surfaces. In the case of the former this means that bacteria are added to a prepared sample of the bactericide, and the efficacy is tested. This gives a useful overview of efficacy in products aimed at a range of environments. With surface testing, representative samples of the surfaces typically found in the target environment are inoculated with the bacteria, and the bactericide then applied according to the usage instructions. This type of testing is highly specific.
Bactericides may be tested in clean or dirty conditions depending on the nature of the environment where they will eventually be used. For general disinfection, testing in dirty conditions is essential.
Disinfectants being tested are used on ‘mandatory organisms’ to determine their overall efficacy against all similar organisms. This builds up a picture of which disinfectants are best to use in which environments – for example, you wouldn’t use a veterinary bactericide in a hospital, because it might not kill the commonly present organisms, and vice versa.
Disinfectants can be tested against bacteria (gram positive and gram negative), viruses, yeast, fungi and spores. Common organisms include bacteria such as Escherichia. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and viruses such as adenovirus, poliovirus and norovirus. When choosing a BS EN compliant disinfectant, it’s important to check that it is proven effective against the organism you are targeting, or a range of organisms commonly found in your intended environment.
Achieving a BS EN standard does not mean that a given disinfectant is suitable for all environments and applications. Certain BS ENs relate to specific uses – for example, disinfection of medical instruments, or veterinary use. There are BS EN standards for industries including food, industrial, domestic, institutional, medical and veterinary – many of which overlap, but some that do not. When choosing a BS EN compliant disinfectant, it’s important to check that it’s approved for use in your target environment.
How does Ramsol stack up?
Quin Global brought Ramsol to market in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic. But in doing so we made a clear commitment from the outset that whilst we needed to respond fast, we also needed to do things right. We ensured Ramsol was compliant with the following key BS EN standards:
BS EN 1276
This is a suspension test and proves Ramsol’s bactericidal performance, demonstrating effectiveness against four common strains: Escherichia coli, Enterococcus hirae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. It indicates Ramsol is suitable for use in food, industrial, domestic and institutional areas.
BS EN 13697
This is a suspension test and proves Ramsol’s bactericidal performance, demonstrating effectiveness against four common strains: Escherichia coli, Enterococcus hirae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. It indicates Ramsol is suitable for use in all the same areas as recommended under BS EN 13697, as well as medical environments where proven bactericidal performance is mandatory.
BS EN 1650
This is a suspension test and proves Ramsol’s effectiveness against yeast and fungi, demonstrating effectiveness against Candida albicans and Aspergillus brasiliensis. It indicates Ramsol is suitable for use in food, industrial, domestic and institutional environments.
BS EN 14476
This is a suspension test and proves Ramsol’s virucidal capability, demonstrating effectiveness against enveloped viruses including SARS-Cov-2, norovirus, poliovirus and adenovirus. It indicates effectiveness via immersion, surface disinfection and textile disinfection, in dirty conditions and is approved for use in clinical settings, public institutions, laundry, workplaces and households. BS EN 14476 is the single most important thing to look for when choosing a disinfectant to tackle SARS-Cov-2 because it is a virus – if your current disinfectant does not comply, your workplace or organisation may not be protected.
To make an enquiry or see full copies of Ramsol’s BS EN testing reports, email firstname.lastname@example.org