Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Hand-disinfectant alcoholic vapors in incubators

Publication Date
DOI: 10.3233/npm-2011-2727
  • Infant
  • Newborn
  • Handwashing
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • 2-Propanol
  • Ethanol
  • Incubators


Objective: To analyze the atmosphere inside incubators regarding alcoholic solvent such as isopropanol or ethanol which are commonly used in hand disinfecting solutions. Design: Observational. Setting: The third level neonatal unit of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland. Patients: Nine neonates with median (range) gestational age of 29 4/7 (25 5/7-39 0/7) weeks and birth weight of 960 (550-3050) grams. All neonates were inside incubators. Interventions: Alcoholic vapors inside incubators were directly and cumulatively measured by photoionisation and gas chromatography respectively after absorption on a charcoal sampling tube. Results: Eleven studies (mean study time: 230 ± 19 minutes) were performed. Highly variable isopropanol/ethanol concentrations profiles were found inside incubators. Peak value for isopropanol was 1982 part per million and for ethanol was 906 part per million. Conclusions: Incubators' inner atmosphere can be highly polluted by alcohol vapors. To reduce them staff should respect long evaporation time between hands disinfection and manipulations inside incubators. The use of an ethanol-based disinfecting solution, because of its short evaporation time, could be favored. As alcohol vapor toxicity for neonate remains largely unknown, further studies could be welcome.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.


Seen <100 times