Standardization News

Antimicrobial Product Effectiveness

Professional hand hygiene products are subjected to vigorous testing prior to being marketed and introduced for use in a healthcare setting. Now, a new ASTM International standard approved by Committee E35 on Pesticides, Antimicrobials and Alternative Control Agents describes the use of pigskin as an alternative to human hands in testing the efficacy of hand hygiene products in combating contamination.

E2897, Guide for Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Hand Hygiene Topical Antimicrobial Products Using Ex Vivo Porcine Skin, was developed by Subcommittee E35.15 on Antimicrobial Agents.

While testing hygiene products on human hands can be done, tests involving human volunteers can be expensive and are limited in the types of pathogens that can be used. According to Peter Karanja, research and development scientist, STERIS Corp., and an E35 member, E2897 overcomes such limitations and offers the benefit of being applicable to a wide variety of hand-washing conditions.

"E2897 will permit testing of pathogens that may be encountered in a healthcare environment but would not be used on human subjects," says Karanja. "It also permits testing of conditions that cannot be simulated in a test tube while offering less expensive and higher throughput screening hand hygiene products."

In addition to E2897, E35.15 is developing a related proposed standard, WK36911, Guide for Measuring the Inactivation of Persistent Activity of Topical Antimicrobial Products Using Ex Vivo Porcine Skin. This proposed guide will demonstrate the compatibility of topical antimicrobial products and the ability to maintain persistent activity exhibited by products used in a healthcare setting. Like E2897, WK36911 uses pigskin as a surrogate for human skin.

All interested parties are invited to participate in the development of E35.15 standards.

To purchase ASTM standards, visit and search by the standard designation, or contact ASTM Sales (phone: 877-909-ASTM;

CONTACT Technical Information: Peter Karanja, STERIS Corp. • St. Louis, Mo. • Phone: 314-290-4781 | ASTM Staff: Jennifer Rodgers • Phone: 610-832-9694 | Upcoming Meeting: April 15-18 • April Committee Week • Indianapolis, Ind.

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