Antimicrobial additives? An unbiased opinion.
We don’t manufacture sheet and have no vested interest in those that do. Our interest does lie in informing clients of available materials and offering suggestions accordingly. So, for the last few years there has been divergent opinion on the use of antimicrobial additives in wall cladding. There are two camps. On one side we have Altro. They no longer produce sheet with anti-microbial properties. They used to, but took the decision that these additives weren’t required for a number of reasons. On the other side is Biocote. A leading champion of the additives. Altro, who’ve led the introduction and evolution of hygienic wall cladding believe there is no advantage – more startling in fact, believe there are positive disadvantages. Biocote, unsurprisingly contest this stance. This topic is discussed at length in April 2020’s edition of Health Estate Journal. Its a very interesting read and is available on the link below “HEJ Discussion”. Those who have not yet registered with the site will need to do so, however it’s free and an useful source of news and views and details of products available. However, if you don’t want to register, just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “antimicrobial” in the subject line and we’ll mail a .pdf of it back to you.
Designing an installation is complex. It starts with a simple question which has a multitude of answers. The question is -“What’s the best material for use in this installation?”
And that question leads to others.
Eventually it boils down to how critical the “installation” is. And in what sense is it “Critical”. Is it a hyper-mega clean environment we’re creating? What do we mean by “clean”. And what is it for? If we’re building space rockets in it, it’s a different “clean” we’re after than if we’re performing open heart surgery. In the former, antimicrobial properties are probably a waste of time, in the latter -some would argue – essential.
So, these are some considerations for the specifier:-
- What level of cleanliness are we after?
- What cleaning regimes are in place?
- If we’re using something extra to protect humans or animals from microbial infection, are the claims valid and provable?
Click on the button below for the Health Estates Journal discussion document on the worth of antimicrobial additives.
One of the arguments is that a correct cleaning regime is sufficient on it’s own without the aid of antimicrobial additives. Our view is that is a perfectly correct statement. However, what if they miss a bit? In today’s economic climate where cut-backs have stretched cleaning staff. Our view is if the application requires a medically clean environment then, if the budget allows as antimicrobial materials are slightly more expensive, it’s better to err on the side of caution
To our mind, the most compelling information is shown in the following graphs.
The graph below shows the extinction rate of E-coli on two surfaces of hygienic cladding. One with silver based biocides and one without. The difference is startling and clearly shows the one with the biocide – in this case Biocote in BioClad’s sheet, is much “cleaner”.
Here’s one we’ve all heard of – Staphylococcus aureus. This is a major bacterial human pathogen that causes a wide variety of clinical manifestations. Infections are common both in community-acquired as well as hospital-acquired settings and treatment remains challenging to manage due to the emergence of multi-drug resistant strains such as MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) S. aureus is found in the environment and is also found in normal human flora, located on the skin and mucous membranes (most often the nasal area) of most healthy individuals.S. aureus does not normally cause infection on healthy skin; however, if it is allowed to enter the bloodstream or internal tissues, these bacteria may cause a variety of potentially serious infections.
Again the extintion rate on surfaces incorporating Biocote material (Bioclad) is significantly higher than those without.
So, with or without is of course a decision for the specifier to decide. In the end it’s all about suitability for purpose. We have a wealth of information at hand and hope we can help you reach a conclusion.
We believe that in some circumstances, antimicrobial additives bring little to the party. However, in some instances their contribution is absolutely vital. Please give us a call to discuss your application.
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