Biocide Rubber - What is it? How? Why?
With the increased media exposure of bug related diseases such as MRSA there has been much research done in investigating how this contamination related spread of infections can be controlled.
Sterilising equipment in hospitals certainly helps to limit exposure. Disinfecting and basic cleaning will also help reduce most bacteria lurking on surfaces; however there are many places where cleaning effectively is either not possible or practical.
Many electronic instruments, controllers and keyboards are used within a hospital and could be produced using an antibacterial additive in the base material or alternatively have a permanent anti-bacterial spray coating applied.
An anti-bacterial additive or spray coating is a treatment applied to the base material of the product that will reduce rapidly the number of living bacteria on the products surface.
The anti-bacterial additives used in the material or spray coating, are produced by incorporating a silver based component. The chemistry basically is silver coated glass in powder form. Silver is a well known biocide. Once moistened with normal atmosphere or hand contact the hydrolytic compound releases silver ions and kills the microscopic bugs.
This component is expensive to add as an additive in the whole of the moulding, however, a more cost effective method is to incorporate this additive into a compatible polymer in a viscosity suitable for spraying, this can then be used to coat the surface of the moulding providing a lasting anti-bacterial coating as well as serving as a protective coating for any printing that also may have been applied.
This surface need only be microns thick, but will still have the same efficacy. The coating is in a cross-linked polymer that bonds with the bulk moulding as a permanent coating that resists washing off, or hand abrasion.
Tests carried out to the accepted JIS Z 2801 test method which is an ISO approved test, show that this system is effective in eradication of gram positive S. Aureus and gram negative E.Coli, showing a reduction in excess of 99.98%.The reduction in bacteria starts immediately and significant reductions are seen after just one hour with the coating lasting for years dependent on how abraded.
The additive used has also been evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority and classified as suitable for food contact (group 3) as a surface biocide.
The benefit of this coating is significant reduction in spread of infection, cross contamination and reduced bio-film build up.
Products that benefit from this coating would include rubber keypads, medical device components such as seals, gaskets, grommets, bellows and any silicone rubber moulding that comes into human contact and could potentially be a source of contamination.