ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Sodium hypochlorite can used for disinfecting instruments and surfaces and is effective as a disinfectant against HIV and hepatitis B virus. It is applied as a 5% to 12.5% solution depending upon the degree of contamination. Lower concentrations can be used but the hypochlorite needs to be in contact with the infected surface for at least 30 minutes for adequate disinfection to occur. The normal procedure is to use the sodium hypochlorite on a cotton swab and to discard the swab into a wet waste bag after use. High concentrations of hypochlorite solutions will corrode metal surfaces although stainless steel is not affected.


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