Built-in antimicrobial technology provides continuous protection that helps prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew. When microbes come into contact with the product, this technology prevents them from growing or reproducing.
The antimicrobial technology is added during manufacturing, making it a permanent part of the product that will not wash off or wear away, providing protection that lasts the lifetime of the product.
The antimicrobial industry has come a long way in the past few years. Antimicrobials such as mercury, tin and arsenic compounds have been withdrawn from the market in favor of safer alternatives such as zinc, silver and organic based alternatives. Antimicrobials are closely regulated by the EPA and must be registered specifically for intended use. When choosing products treated with a built-in antimicrobial, be sure to choose a brand with a track record of success for best results.
Silver antimicrobial technology utilizes Silver Cations that are infused into the polymer used to make a product. During the manufacturing process, Silver is embedded throughout the polymer. The silver remains in place and is effective for the life of the product, even if an object is nicked or scratched. When moisture comes in contact with the polymer surface, small amounts of silver are released. When bacteria attempt to live on the surface, the silver is absorbed, preventing the bacteria from converting nutrients into energy, disrupting the bacteria’s metabolism and therefore inhibiting the bacteria’s ability to survive, reproduce and colonize.
Next generation silver technologies, such as Microban® SilverShield®, work significantly faster and are more efficient than other silver antimicrobial technologies.
Zinc is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial that is embedded throughout polymers or applied to textiles during the manufacturing process. Similar to silver, this process also ensures that the protection works for the life of the product, even if an object is nicked or scratched. The Zinc is inert until it comes into contact with a damp environment in which fungi or bacteria can grow. Moisture releases minute amounts of zinc – just enough to inhibit the growth of microbes by interfering with the cell wall, hampering the ability of the microbes to consume nutrients necessary to survive. Zinc uses multiple modes of action against both bacteria and fungi preventing microbes from adapting and developing resistance. It is FDA-approved as a treatment for dandruff and other fungal infections, and is registered with the EPA as safe to use in a variety of built-in applications.
Quaternary Ammonium Compound
Quat technology, is primarily used on textiles, such as towels, clothing and bedding. Quat technology is bonded to the surface during the manufacturing process. The resultant surface is equivalent to millions of invisible microscopic swords that can’t be seen or felt. When the microbe tries to attach itself to the surface, the cell membrane is physically ruptured. This stabbing or “electrocution”, is a result of the antimicrobial’s positive charge and will continue to work as long as the surface adhesion technology remains intact. Since it is not consumed and does not dissipate, the antimicrobial active is not depleted and continues to control microbial growth. It is a physical control, not a chemical control.
To learn more about built-in antimicrobial technologies, visit microban.com.