IMOA welcomes the publication of an independent report confirming the continuing safety of using stainless steel in hospital environments.

Team Stainless, a consortium of stainless steel and alloying element associations, commissioned Manchester Metropolitan University and AgroParisTech to devise and conduct research to examine the effectiveness of disinfection on stainless steel in hospital environments.

Unlike previous studies, which have only tested the effectiveness of disinfection on new stainless steel, this study was specifically designed to test both new and artificially aged surfaces. A fouling and cleaning protocol was first designed to replicate the aging effects of multiple cleaning cycles in normal use.

New and aged samples of AISI 304 and AISI 316 (the two grades of stainless steel usually found in clinical environments) with various surface finishes were contaminated with the bacteria most commonly associated with Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs). The samples were then cleaned using a proprietary disinfectant and analysed for the presence of bacteria.

The researchers found that there was no discernible difference between the efficiency of disinfection across the range of grades and finishes, and whether or not the stainless steel was new or aged.

Tim Outteridge, Secretary-General, IMOA, said: “Thanks to its unique properties, stainless steel is used widely in many applications throughout hospitals and healthcare facilities. This new study confirms the effectiveness of disinfecting stainless steel against bacteria associated with HAIs and its ongoing suitability as a material for use in clinical environments.”