ANTIMICROBIALS

In recent years there has been an increased awareness of the fact that everyday objects can support and spread bacteria.  In the battle with this many new kitchen cleaners have been developed for use on work tops and other kitchen surfaces and anti-bacterial agents have been added to washing up liquids.

Please Note: This page is for information purposes only. Rutland Plastics is an Injection Moulder and does not supply plastics additives.

More recently outbreaks of MRSA in hospitals have been highlighted by the media.  The cross contamination that occurs in these environments can, on occasion, be fatal.  Research has shown that potentially pathogenic bacteria can be found on pens, phones and door handles among other things.  Hands coming into contact with these contaminated objects quickly transfer bacteria to another object.

Although one solution is to wash hands regularly, or use alcohol wipes particularly in the case of hospitals, it can be seen that this is not practical when the number and variety of potentially contaminated objects is considered.

Another solution is to keep microbe populations low so reducing the risk of cross contamination.  It is possible to add antimicrobials to any moulded object so reducing contamination risks.  This approach is of particular interest to hospitals, food manufacturers as well as consumers in general.  It should be emphasised that antimicrobials do not replace the need for good hygiene practice.

HOW DO THEY WORK?

The technology is based upon metal ions, one of the most effective being silver, although synergistic blends may be used.  These ions are stabilised and remain unreactive until coming into contact with another agent such as moisture.

Rutland Plastics has experience of using a variety of antimicrobials, the most effective being BACTiglas® from Wells Plastics.  In this particular system the silver ions are encapsulated in a hydrolsable glass matrix which protects them during processing and controls their release.  The matrix is extremely stable, to temperatures beyond 500˚C, and is designed to withstand fairly extreme acid or alkali conditions.

This particular antimicrobial’s active ingredients are always present at the surface so remain active.  Many agents need regular activation, usually with washing.  Furthermore, tests have shown that there was no reduction in efficiency even after 8 years.  Most other antimicrobials will see a reduction in effectiveness over time.

Addition rates as low as 0.5% can offer strong protection and 1% will give reductions in bacteria, such as E.Coli and S.Aureus (MRSA, in excess of 99%.  Addition rates of 1.5% can produce a strong biocidal effect which will reduce fungal problems, such as Algae and A.Niger.  However, these normally occur in places where it is hot and wet, such as bathrooms, so it is not a usual requirement.