What role does gamma radiation play in cleaning and disinfecting in the healthcare sector?

Gamma irradiation is an extremely important method for sterilising materials in the healthcare sector.

Gamma irradiation involves the use of high-energy gamma rays emitted from a radioactive source, typically Cobalt-60 or Cesium-137, to disrupt the DNA of microorganisms, rendering them unable to reproduce. Unlike other sterilisation methods like heat or chemical sterilants, gamma irradiation operates without the need for high temperatures or harmful chemicals, making it suitable for a wide array of materials, including plastics, metals, and even delicate medical instruments.

You begin the process by placing the products to be sterilised in a specially designed chamber. The radioactive source emits gamma rays within the chamber, which penetrate the packaging and product, effectively destroying bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens present. Crucially, gamma irradiation leaves no residue or by-products, ensuring the safety and integrity of the sterilised items.

Properties and uses of gamma radiation
Gamma radiation has several distinctive properties. Its high energy levels and penetration capability allow it to pass through various materials. This ability to penetrate without being deflected by electric or magnetic fields makes it very useful in many industrial and scientific applications.

Gamma radiation is used extensively in industry and in scientific research, especially for material testing, sterilisation, and quality control. In the healthcare sector, sterilisation is a critical application where exposure to gamma radiation results in an effect called irradiation. Gamma irradiation is highly effective in killing bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms, ensuring that products are made sterile. Sterile cleaning products, particularly in healthcare, rely heavily on this method for maintaining the utmost hygiene and safety standards.

Impact of radiation

It’s very important to note that when materials or products are exposed to gamma radiation for sterilisation, they themselves do not become radioactive. This is a common misconception. The process of gamma irradiation involves exposing products to gamma rays to eliminate any microorganisms. Once the irradiation process is complete, the products are free from contaminants and safe to use.

Products that have been sterilised using gamma irradiation are safe for use in healthcare settings. They do not retain gamma rays or emit radiation post-treatment. These sterilised products include a wide range of medical supplies and equipment that are fundamental in ensuring a sterile environment, critical for patient care and infection control. The use of gamma-irradiated products is widespread and well-regulated, ensuring that they meet the highest safety standards before they reach healthcare professionals and patients.

Gamma-irradiation vs micron filtration
It’s important to distinguish gamma radiation from other methods like micron filtration. Micron-filtered biocides and cleaning products, typically undergoing 0.2 micron filtration, remove most contaminants and can be a cost-effective solution for certain healthcare settings. However, this filtration method does not provide the same level of sterilisation as gamma irradiation.

Gamma irradiation is indispensable in contexts where the highest standards of sterilisation are required. Its ability to ensure complete sterilisation, without reliance on chemical processes, makes it a preferred choice in many high-precision healthcare applications. Its widespread adoption underscores its efficacy and reliability as a sterilisation method, offering a potent defence against microbial contamination.

AGMA products that are gamma-irradiated for sterility

All the products in our Healthcare Range are available sterile. We have a range of biocidal cleaning products and disinfectants that are gamma-irradiated for sterility and designed to be suitable for cleanrooms. These trusted solutions help maintain the highest hygiene standards in healthcare environments, enhance infection control, and achieve regulatory compliance.
The packaging of sterile products in this range is detex-dotted to give visual reassurance of successful irradiation.

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Sterile Isopropanol 70%

Our sterile Isopropanol 70% is perfect as a proven industry standard biocide within pharmaceutical and hospital cleanrooms.  

It is perfect for day-to-day disinfection across a range of surfaces including worktops, instruments, gloved hands and transferred items. 

It is also available in a range of formats, including 500mL & 1L Trigger Sprays, 5L fluids and 32gsm economy and 68 gsm high quality low particulate wipes

The packaging is carefully designed for protection. Trigger sprays utilise our bag-in-bottle technology to ensure in-use sterility, validated for 13 weeks. Trigger sprays, aerosols and 5L fluids are double-bagged to safeguard product sterility during transfer

Sterile IPA 70% in WFI 900ML Trigger Spray Sterile IPA 70% in WFI 4YPIN Economy Pouch Wipe 30 GSM

Enquire now to learn more about AGMA products.