NHS hospital trials electrolysed water as a sanitiser
An NHS hospital is researching the effectiveness of electrolysed water
A London NHS hospital has been researching the effectiveness of electrolysed water as a potential sanitiser since last November, to establish conclusively that existing global research into electrolysed water stands up to scrutiny.
The hospital is trialling chlorine, the long-standing ‘gold standard’ within the NHS, against acidic electrolysed water (hypochlorous acid) produced by a Hoshizaki ROX-10, using recognised EN standards, including EN1040 and EN1276.
The EN standards are being replicated in vitro as would normally be the case for testing a sanitiser by a laboratory and they are also being researched in vivo. Several strains of bacteria are being used including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and Acinetobacter baumannii, previously susceptible to common antibiotics, but now multidrug-resistant.
Hoshizaki’s ROX is an integrated system that can have as few or as many outlets as required so that electrolysed water is always available on demand. Systems can range from a single, over-sink model, through to large plant configurations for hospitals, hotels and other large facilities.
Electrolysed water is produced by combining ordinary tap water, a mild salt solution and an electric current. A cathode and an anode in the electrolysis unit cause the water molecules to divide into positive and negative ions resulting in alkaline cleaning water and acidic sanitising water.
Alkaline water has a pH of about 11.3 (similar to a household ammonia solution) making it an efficient detergent and de-greaser.
Acidic water (hypochlorous acid) has a pH of approximately 2.7 and is proven effective against many pathogens, bacteria and viruses.
Furthermore, its effects are rapid and, because it breaks down cell microbial walls, it prevents the development of resistant strains. Where chlorine-based sanitisers may take up to 20 minutes contact time to be effective, electrolysed water is usually effective in under a minute.
Electrolysed water can be disposed of by pouring it down a sink without causing any damage to the environment. It costs around 2p per litre to produce (inclusive of water, salt, electricity and equipment). Lease costs start at just £150 per month.
The Healthcare Infection Society (HIS) is sponsoring the research and the full report will be published in September and presented at the Healthcare Infection Society Conference in November.
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