Objective Healthcare workers are highly exposed to various types of disinfectants and cleaning products. Assessment of exposure to these products remains a challenge. We aimed to investigate the feasibility of a method, based on a smartphone application and bar codes, to improve occupational exposure assessment among hospital/cleaning workers in epidemiological studies.
Methods A database of disinfectants and cleaning products used in French hospitals, including their names, bar codes and composition, was developed using several sources: ProdHyBase (a database of disinfectants managed by hospital hygiene experts), and specific regulatory agencies and industrial websites. A smartphone application has been created to scan bar codes of products and fill a short questionnaire. The application was tested in a French hospital. The ease of use and the ability to record information through this new approach were estimated.
Results The method was tested in a French hospital (7 units, 14 participants). Through the application, 126 records (one record referred to one product entered by one participant/unit) were registered, majority of which were liquids (55.5%) or sprays (23.8%); 20.6% were used to clean surfaces and 15.9% to clean toilets. Workers used mostly products with alcohol and quaternary ammonium compounds (>90% with weekly use), followed by hypochlorite bleach and hydrogen peroxide (28.6%). For most records, information was available on the name (93.7%) and bar code (77.0%). Information on product compounds was available for all products and recorded in the database.
Conclusion This innovative and easy-to-use method could help to improve the assessment of occupational exposure to disinfectants/cleaning products in epidemiological studies.
- cleaning products
- smartphone application
- occupational exposure
- hospital workers
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Contributors CQ contributed to the study conception, collection of the data, statistical programming and data analysis, data interpretation, and primary manuscript preparation. SA-D, CB and RG permitted the acquisition of the data of ProdHyBase and contributed to the critical revision of the manuscript. SA-D and RG contributed to the study conception. SL-C and VS contributed to the study conception and the critical revision of the manuscript. ST contributed to the study conception, collection of the data of ProdHyBase and the critical revision of the manuscript. AT and AD allowed the test of the smartphone application at the Raymond Poincaré Hospital and contributed to the critical revision of the manuscript. AD also contributed to the study conception. ET contributed to the study conception, the development of the smartphone application and its backend, and contributed to the critical revision of the manuscript. JF contributed to the development of the smartphone application and its backend, and to the critical revision of the manuscript. NLM and OD contributed to the study conception, participation in the acquisition of the data, data interpretation, primary manuscript preparation and critical revision of the manuscript.
Funding Anses-PNR-EST-2015-1-022/Ademe-1594C0091; University Paris-Sud/IRESP; University of Versailles St-Quentin en Yvelines EDSP doctoral grant; Open Health Institute grant.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Ethics approval The pilot study was approved by the Ethics Evaluation Committee and Institutional Review Board of INSERM (CEEI/IRB IRB00003888, 17 January 2017).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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