| FAQ - Instrument Processing - Archived Through 2012
What exactly is a cold sterilant?
A cold sterilant is a chemical agent that can destroy all microbial life, including highly resistant bacterial endospores when used according to the directions on the product label. At shorter contact times, the product is capable of inactivating all microorganisms and some, but not all bacterial endospores.(1) Please note that most dental instruments are heat-tolerant and, as such, should be heat-sterilized via autoclave, chemical vapor, or dry heat. If chemical germicides are required, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of germicides that it has cleared for market as safe and effective high-level disinfectants/sterilants when used as directed(2).
(1) Sterilization or Disinfection of Medical Devices: General Principles, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Centers for Disease Conrol and Prevention, available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/hip/Sterile/Sterilgp.htm
(2) Food and Drug Administration. FDA-Cleared Sterilants and High Level Disinfectants with General Claims for Processing Reusable Medical and Dental Devices. Available at http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/ode/germlab.html