Silver-based antimicrobials offer transparency, low loadings

May 09, 2012

Sanitized AG (Bergdorf, Switzerland) is launching a new generation of silver-based antimicrobial protective additives that it says deliver effective protection faster than previously possible.  

Other advantages of the new products, according to the company, are low cost due to low loading levels and best-yet transparency for applications requiring fast and broad protection against microbes.

"Silver products have an excellent reputation for a wide range of performance characteristics," said Maria Toscan, product manager polymers at Sanitized AG in a press release. "The new Sanitized Silver products provide a package of benefits that ensure fast and durable antimicrobial protection while remaining economically sustainable without compromising aesthetics and performance."

The patented technology involves encapsulation of silver in a glass ceramic material in a small particle size. It's described as effective against a large number of bacteria and remains stable at temperatures up to 500⁰C—far beyond any organic active compounds.

They are compatible with polyolefins, polystyrene and polyurethanes as well as other plastics, and work also in powder and liquid coatings. They can be used as a masterbatch for molding processes. They also target packaging film applications.

Suppliers have raced to develop new antimicrobial products because of growing interest in fighting hospital-acquired infections. One of the driving forces in the United States is a three-year-old rule by Medicare that it will not cover the costs of "preventable" conditions, mistakes, and infections resulting from a hospital stay. As a result, there has been an explosion of new antimicrobial compounds that have been marketed heavily at major medical design and manufacturing events.

It's not yet clear, however, the extent to which hospital staffs feel the need for additional antimicrobial products. In interviews with PlasticsToday, they have said new antimicrobials are being evaluated to make sure they work as advertised and are safe. That's particularly true of compounds based on new types of antimicrobials.

Silver, however, has a long history of safe use in medical applications. In fact, it was used as far back as the 1960s in wound dressings.

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