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Open Access Low-cost, Small-scale Decontamination of Laboratory Equipment by Using Chlorine Dioxide Gas

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A significant concern in laboratory animal medicine is contamination due to pathogen outbreaks and how to adequately decontaminate small equipment. Many factors play a role in the selection of the decontamination method including cost, efficacy, personnel time and safety. Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) gas is an effective method, but decontamination often requires a ClO2 gas generator with a specialized air-tight exposure chamber. Although this method works well for large-scale decon- tamination, the use of a gas generator may be impractical and too costly for smaller-scale decontamination. The goal of this study was to create and validate an effective, small-scale decontamination method that uses ClO2 gas and which is an affordable, efficient, safe, and reproducible. First, we identified a product that generates ClO2 gas after the combination of 2 dry reagents. To find an affordable exposure chamber, we evaluated the ability of 4 household totes with gasket-seal lid systems to retain ClO2 gas and relative humidity (RH). The efficacy of decontamination was validated by concurrently using 2 different biologic indicators (BI), Bacillus atrophaeus (B.a.) and Geobacillus stearothermophilus (G.s.). All household totes evaluated held sufficient gas and RH for a 15-h cycle, providing adequate contact time to inactivate both BI evaluated. Our results suggest that a total exposure dose of 71 ± 42 ppm-h of ClO2 gas over 15 h at 90% or greater RH is adequate to inactivate both B.a. and G.s. There was no statistical significance between the 2 BI as indicators for decontamination; 65 of 230 (28.3%) B.a. and 75 of 230 (32.6%) G.s spore strips were positive for growth (P = 0.36). In conclusion, we successfully combined a variety of low-cost materials to establish an effective, small-scale method to decontaminate laboratory equipment. Depending on the size of the tote and whether BI are used, the cost of our method is roughly 1% that of large-scale ClO2 gas generators used with specialized air-tight exposure chambers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Animal Resources Center, The University of Chicago Biological Sciences, Chicago, Illinois 2: Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Research Safety and Industrial Hygiene, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado–Denver 3: Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Research Safety and Industrial Hygiene, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado–Denver 4: Office of Laboratory Animal Resources, Research Safety and Industrial Hygiene, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado–Denver; Department of Pathology, Research Safety and Industrial Hygiene, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado–Denver 5: Office of Laboratory Animal Resources, Research Safety and Industrial Hygiene, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado–Denver; Department of Pathology, Research Safety and Industrial Hygiene, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado–Denver 6: Office of Laboratory Animal Resources, Research Safety and Industrial Hygiene, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado–Denver; Department of Pathology, Research Safety and Industrial Hygiene, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado–Denver; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, Colorado;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: September 1, 2019

This article was made available online on August 29, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Low-cost, Small-scale Decontamination of Laboratory Equipment by Using Chlorine Dioxide Gas".

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

    Attention Members: To access the full text of the articles, be sure you are logged in to the AALAS website.

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