No, Caviwipes & Oxivir wipes do not cause cancer
There is a myth in many Canadian hospitals that the standard wipes used to disinfect medical equipment and surfaces are “known WHO carcinogens”. It is said these disinfectants are of such danger they can only be handled with gloved hands. Those who try using these wipes without gloves is generally reprimanded by other peers and staff.
A review of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for these products shows quite the contrary. They contain no known carcinogens.
The cutaneous hazards are summarized below:
Oxivir Tb Wipes: lists no problems with skin contact.
Caviwipes: Non-carcinogenic, but "impervious gloves such as butyl rubber or nitrile are recommended for operations which may result in prolonged or repeated skin contact." but does not exactly specify what duration this is.
Virox AHP5 Wipes: no known hazards to skin contact.
Clorox Healthcare Wipes: no known hazards. "Recommended to wear latex, rubber or nitrile gloves if there is the potential for repeated or prolonged skin contact."
Oxivir Tb Wipes
Manufactured by: From Diversey
Contact time: 1 minute
Active ingredients & its percentage by weight
- Benzyl alcohol: 1-5%
- Hydrogen peroxide: 0.1-1.5%
- Hazards for skin contact: none known
- First aid measures for skin contact: rinse with plenty of water
- Handeling instructions: handle in accordance with good industrial hygiene and safety practice
- Exposure controls for skin and body protection: no special requirements under normal use conditions
- Toxicology information: carcinogenic, mutagenic, reproductive: none
Manufactured by: Metrex
Contact time: 1 minute
Active ingredients by its percentage by percentage of the liquid saturant:
- Isopropranolol: 17.2%
- Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether: 1-5%
- Diisobutylphenoxyethoxyethyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride: 0.28%
- Water 70-80%
- Hazards: may cause mild skin irritation. Harmful if absorbed through the skin
- Skin Contact: Remove contaminated clothing. Rinse skin immediately with plenty of water for 15-20 minutes. Call a poison control center or doctor for further treatment advice
- Handling and storage: Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking, chewing gum , using tobacco or using the toilet. Remove and wash contaminated clothing before reuse.
- Exposure Controls / Personal Protection: Gloves : Impervious gloves such as butyl rubber or nitrile are recommended for operations which may result in prolonged or repeated skin contact.
- Toxicological Information: Skin Contact: Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause mild irritation. No signs of toxicity or irritation were observed in a dermal toxicity study in rabbits. Non-irritating in a primary irritation study with rabbits. Negative in a skin sensitization study with guinea pigs. Due to its defatting properties, isopropyl alcohol may aggravate an existing skin condition.
- Carcinogen: None of the components is listed as a carcinogen or potential carcinogen by IARC, NTP, ACGIH, or OSHA.
Virox AHP5 RTU Wipes
Manufactured by: Diversey, Inc
Contact time: 5 minutes
Active ingredient % by weight:
- Hydrogen peroxide 0.1-1.5%
- Hazards for skin: none
- First aid measures skin contact: rinse with plenty of water
- Hand, skin, and body protection: No special requirements under normal use conditions
- Toxicology, carcinogenic, mutagenic, reproductive effects: none known
Chlorex Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes
Manufacture: The Clorox Company
Active ingredients by concentration
- Hydrogen peroxide 1-5%
- Benzyl alcohol 1-5%
- Hazards: Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco or using the toilet.
- First AiD Aid for skin contact: Wash thoroughly with soap and water. If irritation persists, call a doctor.
- Exposure Controls: Wear latex, rubber or nitrile gloves if there is the potential for repeated or prolonged skin contact.
- Carciongen: not listed on IARCA, OSHA, NTP carcinogen lists