Fumigation and fogging are two methods commonly used in pharmaceutical companies to control the microbial contamination in controlled area. But now a days fumigation with formaldehyde solution and potassium permanganate is banned by different regulatory agencies in pharmaceutical companies. Why these regulatory agencies banned fumigation? Let first understand the difference between fumigation and fogging.
Fumigation: Fumigation is a method in which we use formaldehyde solution with potassium permanganate chemical in a predefined ratio. By adding potassium permanganate in formaldehyde a reaction takes place and it generate fumes which effectively kill bacteria, fungus and their spores. This is very effective method to control the contamination in controlled area.
Fogging: Now a days fogging is used in pharmaceuticals to control the microbial contamination in controlled area. For fogging we require fogger machine and a fogging solutions. Different disinfectants are also used for fogging as claim by the vendor which can effectively control the area but hydrogen peroxide and silver ion solution commonly used for fogging purpose which is in market under different brand names. ULV (ultra low volume) foggers are generally used for fogging. By these fogger machines solution is sprayed in the area in form of aerosol. The small particles of disinfectant solution suspend in the air for long time and kill all the air borne bacteria, fungus and their spores. This is also very effective way to control the contamination.
So, Instead of so much effectiveness why different regulatory agencies banned fumigation with formaldehyde solution and potassium permanganate? The reason is that formaldehyde is carcinogenic (cancer causing) in nature and there is risk of cancer associated with this to the personnel who is handling formaldehyde. It is not safe for the personnel. There are also other drawbacks like fumigation with formaldehyde causes irritation to the eyes and nose. After fumigation there is requirement of de-fumigation of the area in which air handling unit (AHU) has to be continuously run for few hours without any activity to remove the residues from the air and cleaning and moping of equipments and area is also required. But in case of hydrogen peroxide and silver ion solution it is safe for the personnel and no residues left after fogging as it decompose in to water and nascent oxygen. There is no requirement of de-fogging and cleaning of equipments and area to remove the residues of this solution.
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