Safer hand hygiene


Hand hygiene remains one of the most critical infection prevention strategies in health care. However, common antimicrobial ingredients, such as triclosan and triclocarban, which are used widely in health care for hand hygiene, have also been shown to pose health risks to long-term users. Health care workers can wash or sanitize their hands in a single shift as many as 100 times according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leading to measurable exposures.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restricted the use of triclosan and 23 other ingredients in antiseptic washes and rubs for use in health care, effective December 2017.

Mayo Clinic selected a single manufacturer to purchase all triclosan- and triclocarban-free hand hygiene products. The effort streamlined purchasing and saves $200,000 in hand hygiene expenses each year.

Practice Greenhealth worked with our member hospitals to develop step-by-step resources for health care facilities to maintain best practices for hand hygiene that keep patients and staff safe from infection, but also eliminate exposures to harmful chemicals in a cost-effective way. The goal is to make it simpler for any hospital to design, implement, and measure the success of their chemical reduction efforts.

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