Do chemical indicators sound like something you need to know about? If so, then this blog post is for you! Chemical indicators are important in packaging. External chemical indicators show whether or not instruments have been exposed to heat, whereas internal chemical indicators indicate whether the sterilizing agent penetrated the material. Chemical indicators change color when certain parameters are reached, which verifies that the process was successful. To learn more about chemical indicator use in packaging and how it can benefit your business, continue reading!
There are various variations in both types of indicators to consider. A single-parameter internal chemical indicator, for example, will provide information about a specific aspect of sterilization. It could indicate a time or temperature reading, but not both. A multiparameter internal chemical indicator reacting to two or more of the specified parameters is considerably more trustworthy. Steam sterilizers only have multiparameter indicators available; therefore, if chemical sterilization is chosen, it is important to use an indicator that will react to all the parameters checked in the sterilization cycle.
External indicators can be either single or multiparameter as well. A common type is a heat-sensitive strip that changes color when heated beyond a certain point; these are used on products that have been irradiated with ultraviolet light and do not require steam sterilization. Another option for external indicators is chemical fuses, which look like tiny glass ampoules. They break open when exposed to specific levels of heat, moisture, or chemical agents and release colored dyes into the package atmosphere. These types of indicators must be matched with an appropriate chemical agent detector system installed at your facility.
There are also dual indicators available, which check both the exterior and internal environments. These work without a monitoring strip, but the proper pouches must be acquired and utilized to function correctly. Placing the indicator strip inside the cassette can provide the same functionality as a built-in indicator if it is wrapped in textured fabric, but a single parameter indicator tape and a type 5 integrator are required if the cassette is wrapped in woven cloth.
No matter what type of chemical indicator you decide to use, it is important that the packaging meets all regulatory requirements. The indicators should be placed in specific locations and must be legible so that they can easily be monitored. It is also necessary to keep track of expiration dates and replace indicators when they expire or when a package has been opened.
The chemical indicators that are used in packaging can provide information about your sterilization process. The type of indicator you choose depends on the sterilizing method and what parameters need to be verified.
By utilizing pouches/bags with built-in internal and external indicators, the need to insert another indicator strip into the cassette is significantly reduced; yet, it is suggested that those internal indicators be multiparameter, which only function with steam, rather than ones that can only measure one parameter.