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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a Vapor Control System

All high-level disinfectants are toxic, including Glutaraldehyde, OPA, Hydrogen Peroxide and Peracetic Acid. Fumes are created when the surface tension is broken, this occurs when pouring and working with these chemicals. Once fumes become dispersed in a room they are very difficult to capture. An enclosed vapor control system captures these fumes at the source, before they have a chance to disperse. In addition to capturing fumes, splashes and spills are contained inside the vapor control system.

I have 10 air changes per hour; do I still need a vapor control system

In some cases yes. Most rooms have the supply and return vents (for air-conditioning & heating) in the ceiling. This often results in the air simply "short circuiting" and taking the quickest route, going from the supply directly to the return. So even though you technically have 10 air changes, the air is not being properly mixed in the breathing zone. In some cases when the return air vent is above the soaking container, it will actually draw the fumes up through the breathing zone.

I switched to Cidex OPA; do I still need a vapor control system

Cidex OPA is a powerful high-level disinfectant that works much faster than glutaraldehyde. The instructions that come with Cidex OPA state quite clearly that:

"Cidex OPA must be used in a well-ventilated area in closed containers with tight fitting lids. If adequate ventilation (10 air changes an hour) is not provided by the existing air conditioning system, use in a local exhaust hood or ductless fume hood." In addition, it states that you must use "gloves of appropriate type and length, eye protection and fluid resistant gowns."

These are virtually the same recommendations given for glutaraldehyde.

How do GUS systems meet OSHA and Joint Commission Standards

OSHA and The Joint Commission require that you protect workers and patients from known risks. Since all high-level disinfectants by definition are toxic, and their fumes are known irritants, you need to take steps to protect workers and patients from exposure to them. If used correctly, the GUS systems eliminate the risk of exposure to these fumes, thus meeting OSHA and Joint Commission Standards.

What standard does OSHA use to regulate exposure limits of glutaraldehyde

In 1989, based on the ACGIH recommendation at the time, OSHA adopted a TLV-C (ceiling value limit) of 0.2 ppm as part of its Air Contaminants Standard (20 CFR 1910.1000. ) OSHA enforces these exposure limits by means of its General Duty Clause, which is designed to ensure that each employer provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards.

How do GUS systems eliminate fumes

The blower draws fumes away from the worker and into a patented carbon filter. A chemical bonding occurs inside the filter, trapping the disinfectant fumes and clean air is returned to the room. Detailed independent testing reports from a government recognized testing facility are available by contacting PCI Medical.

How often do I need to change the filter

Every GUS system comes with its initial carbon filter. These filters must be changed every six months to one year, depending on usage. PCI Medical will automatically remind each end user of their pending filter change and prompt them to purchase a replacement filter. We also offer filter replacement packages, which can save you money and increase the warranty on you GUS unit. To find out more contact your GUS Filter Replacement Rep at 1-800-862-3394

How do I know which GUS system to buy

Typically the size of the soak tray that you use will determine the GUS system best for you. It is recommended that both a soak and a rinse tray are INSIDE the GUS system, to eliminate fume exposure when transferring instruments. Many of our systems are designed for soaking specific instruments, such as ultrasound probes, hysteroscopes, cystoscopes, sigmoidoscopes and colonoscopes. The specially designed soaking trays included with many of our systems will dramatically cut down on the amount of disinfectant needed. If you would like help determining the size system you need, you can simply call PCI Medical 1 800 862 3394

Can I use my own trays

In many cases, yes. However, we have found that many people are using larger trays than they need and therefore are using far more disinfectant. Many GUS systems include instrument specific soaking trays, which will also cut down dramatically on the amount of disinfectant used.

Do I need any special electrical requirements

The domestic US models are all 110/115-volt. Actual electrical consumption will vary from unit to unit, please see the individual specification pages for each machine. All GUS systems use energy efficient blowers/fans. 220/240-volt units are also available for export.

Do I need to keep the system running all the time

As long as there is high-level disinfectant in the soak vessels, you should leave the system running. The systems use very little electricity, and leaving them running is like leaving a light on. You should always cover your disinfectant after usage to lessen evaporation.

Is Glutaraldehyde a carcinogen

No, the FDA has not classified glutaraldehyde as a carcinogen. OSHA specifically classifies glutaraldehyde as A4, which means, "not classified as a human carcinogen". Confusion over this classification is due to the fact that OSHA does classify formaldehyde as a carcinogen.

How do I safely dispose of used glutaraldehyde and OPA

Even after use, used glutaraldehyde and OPA remain highly toxic. Spills often happen when carrying a tray of used glutaraldehyde over to the sink for disposal. California now requires that glutaraldehyde and OPA be neutralized prior to disposal down the drain. The larger vapor control systems from PCI Medical have built-in disposal systems that allow you to safely transfer used disinfectant to the drain. PCI Medical also offers a glycine based neutralizer to deactivate the used chemicals prior to disposal. This not only protects your staff but also meets the strict disposal codes in California.
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