Disinfectants used in professional beauty workplaces and treatment areas kill a variety of germs that fall into three categories: bacteria, viruses, and fungi. But some disinfectants also include a standalone tuberculocidal claim or “TB” for short. This little understood capability plays a significant role in your infection prevention
efforts — one that should not be underestimated when choosing the right
disinfectant for your spa or salon.
What is Tuberculosis (TB)?
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease of the lungs (but can affect other parts of the body as well) resulting in chronic cough, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It spreads from one person to another through aerosolized droplets when coughing, sneezing, and even speaking or singing. While it’s one of the leading causes of infectious death globally (1.5 million people in 2020), the US only saw 7,860 cases in 2021 resulting in 526 deaths.
Can TB Live on Surfaces?
TB cannot live on surfaces and therefore cannot be spread by touching, eating or drinking from objects or surfaces coming in contact with someone who is infected. So, if TB can’t be passed on to others through inanimate objects or surfaces, why is it listed on some disinfectant wipes and liquids as a germ-kill claim? To appreciate the significance of this claim and why it’s important, requires an understanding of how disinfectants are designated.
How are Disinfectants Designated?
All disinfectants must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with proof of claim against specific germs and demonstrate they will not cause undue adverse side effects. They are then given a registration number and allowed to be distributed and sold in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) designates any EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant without a TB claim as “low-level” whereas having the claim puts it into the “intermediate-level” category.
Low or Intermediate-Level — What’s the Difference?
The ability to eradicate Mycobacteria (the family of germs that includes TB), is recognized as bit of a special benchmark because it’s rather hard to kill. If a disinfectant has this elevated potency — that is a tuberculocidal claim — this means it will also be effective against a host of other less resistant germs including Coronavirus, HIV, HEP B & C, Herpes and others. So, a TB claim is not there to protect against the spread of tuberculosis but instead assure beauty professionals that they are equipped with a powerful disinfectant against a host of other germs.
Kill Times of TB in Disinfectants Can Vary
Because TB is a hard to kill germ, disinfectants typically require a longer “contact time” — or the amount of time you need to leave a surface wet with the disinfectant for it to do its job. This can range anywhere from 3-10 minutes. Prevention Wipes and Ready to Use Spray are uniquely formulated with a 1-minute TB claim making them the fastest disinfectants available to beauty professionals.
Prevention Disinfectants TB Claim Compared to Other Disinfectants
To compare contact times and see if the disinfectant you may be using has a TB claim, see our handy product comparison guide.