- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

Are there germs on your sleeves? New lab coat technology could kill infections

Lab coats and hospital scrubs have come under scrutiny as more health experts express concern that dangerous pathogens could be hiding on the sleeves of lab coats.

At its annual meeting, the American Medical Association recently announced plans to conduct formal research on “textile transmission of infections,” according to a press release [1]. Some hospitals overseas have already adopted “bare below the elbows” policies that ban ties, lab coats, jewelry, and long sleeves [2].

But one doctor has used an FDA-approved silver-based antimicrobial compound that can kill resistant pathogens such as MRSA, E. coli and Salmonella. The compound, called Tri-Active, is embedded into the lab coats. The inventor, Charles Kinder, MD, a heart rhythm expert and director of the Heart Rhythm Program at Heart Care Centers of Illinois, launched his own company called “DocFroc,” [3] where you can purchase the coats.

“There isn’t a doctor or hospital administrator out there who isn’t interested in reducing medical accidents,” Kinder says in the press release. “Our job is to keep patients safe when they’re in our care. What’s important here is another step, another practical way to control infection that can be easily adopted by hospitals and medical staff everywhere.”

You can find more information on lab coats, including a price comparison formula, in the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, 3rd Edition [4], by Terry Jo Gile.