Ontario, Canada – Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence measurement systems are used in many industries including foodservice, healthcare, and in the past 15 years, the professional cleaning industry.
When used in professional cleaning, these systems help determine the cleanliness of a surface, providing very rapid results.
A high ATP reading suggests that a surface has a high level of microbial contamination. A low level would indicate just the opposite, that the surface is relatively clean, with few contaminants that might harm human health.
However, a study published in June 2014 for the healthcare industry, suggests that ATP monitoring systems may not be as reliable as once believed.
“One of the problems detected by this study is that some of the chemicals and disinfectants used to clean a surface can have a ‘very high impact’ on ATP readings,” according to Brad Evans, general manager at OptiSolve, a service that detects levels of contamination on surfaces.
“This can result in a false sense of confidence, believing a surface has few pathogens that can cause disease when that may not be the case.”
The study also found that different types of ATP monitoring systems from different manufacturers can produce varying test results. Further, it reported that “the swabbing units [on the different ATP systems] are unreliable at picking up total surface ATP.”
The conclusion, by these experts, “was that at least in a healthcare setting, ATP monitoring systems are not a reliable choice,” says Evans.
“This is why many facilities are now embracing imaging technologies that capture images of pathogens on surfaces, indicating where pathogens are present and in what amounts.”
Does this mean cleaning professionals should stop using ATP monitoring systems?
No, according to Evans. “They still can play a significant role in helping cleaning professionals identify surface contamination and keep facilities healthy. Just be aware that they do have limitations.”
Study Referenced: “How Reliable Are ATP Bioluminescence Meters in Assessing Decontamination of Environmental Surfaces in Healthcare Settings?” by Navid Omidbakhsh, Faraz Ahmadpour, Nicole Kenny; Published June 18, 2014; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0099951
OptiSolve is a proprietary surface imaging technology. The system produces high quality images on site that proactively reveal where pathogens remain before and after cleaning, providing visualize results as well as evidence-based recommendations. The outcome is improved cleaning and healthier spaces. More information is available at https://optisolve.net. Company contact, Brad Evans, firstname.lastname@example.org.