The Need for Antimicrobial Solutions
Many common products exposed to moisture or humid environments—from yoga mats and kitchen gadgets to toilet seats and ﬂooring - provide excellent breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and bacteria. When left uncontrolled, those unwanted organisms can harm the products, leading to premature degradation, stains and odors.
Disinfectants help, but do not provide continual protection. In addition, they may contain harsh chemicals, including bleach and peroxide, which come with a long list of risks. Fortunately, there’s a better solution. Zinc-based additives that are incorporated into the actual material from which products are made will work in concert with routine cleaning to keep surfaces cleaner on an ongoing basis.
Zinc: The Broad Spectrum Antimicrobial
Unlike other antimicrobial substances such as silver and copper, zinc-based additives are broad spectrum antimicrobials, effective against not just bacteria but also the growth of fungi including mold, mildew and algae.
Zinc pyrithione was first developed in the 1930s and is heralded for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is commonly used today as a main ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos and over-the-counter treatments for skin conditions. Zinc pyrithione is also used in paints, textiles and polymer products to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi on susceptible surfaces.
Zinc-based additives and other antimicrobial solutions are not designed to replace disinfectants, but rather complement and extend the effectiveness of standard chemical disinfecting routines, adding another level of antimicrobial defense in the fight against bacteria, mold and mildew. Zinc is FDA approved as a treatment for dandruff and other fungal infections at high levels, and at low levels (below 1000 ppm) it is registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe to use in a variety of applications, including those that come in contact with food. Zinc is also notified with the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) in Europe.
Microban® Zinc Technology: ZPTech®
ZPTech® zinc technology is a broad spectrum antimicrobial with proven efficacy against the growth of bacteria, mould, mildew. ZPTech® has multiple modes of action, making it harder for microbes to become resistant to its effects.
- ZPTech® antimicrobial zinc technology offers a low solubility (8 ppm), making it a very durable antimicrobial
- Durability testing shows that polymers soaked for 2000 hours at 70°C in a detergent bath containing 3000 ppm ZPTech® remained 99.99% effective in preventing the growth of Klebsiella pneumoniae, a Gram-negative bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections
- The thermal stability of ZPTech® makes it suitable for use in a variety of manufacturing applications and materials used in moist, humid environments such as cleaning sponges, sealants, cement, polyolefin film liners, commercial cleaning trolleys, and paints & coatings
- ZPTech® technology is constantly active on the surface of treated products. It is incorporated throughout the material during the manufacturing process, ensuring it remains effective even if an object is nicked, scratched or abraded in use
- Microban ZPTech® encapsulates zinc pyrithione in customized carriers, making it safe to handle while causing no disruption to current manufacturing processes
Common mold growing on grout and tile surfacesSame material treated with Microban ZPTech® zinc technology
Antifungal Treatments for Mold Prevention
Microban offers a variety of antifungal properties that are built-in to products such as caulks and sealants, paints and coatings, and cement. These targeted solution technologies are time tested and proven to offer superior mold prevention on surfaces. When mold and mildew come in contact with product surfaces, Microban® antifungal technology penetrates the cell wall of the microbe and disrupts key cell functions so that the microbe cannot function, grow or reproduce.
What is Fungus?
Early fossil records suggest that fungi have been on Earth for over a billion years, and some experts estimate that today over 1.5 million fungus species exist. Common fungi include mushrooms, puffballs, truffles, yeasts and most mildews. Fungi are commonly referred to as mold and begin life as microscopic airborne spores that germinate on contact with the surface of a nonliving organic matter where moisture is present. Mold is then able to penetrate the organic material, secreting enzymes and absorbing water and the digested sugars and starches from the nutrient source.
Mold spores are present everywhere in our indoor and outdoor environment and many of the products found in our homes provide rich nutrient sources. The best defense is prevention: control moisture in your home including high humidity levels and look for antifungal protection products that resist the growth of mold.
Microban's fungal testing lab performs a wide range of industry standard test methods to validate antifungal efficacy. Samples can be evaluated utilizing nutrient challenge protocols or in the fungal chamber, which simulates environmental conditions using the AATCC Test Method 30, Part III.
All products engineered with Microban® antifungal protection undergo extensive testing in our microbiology and chemical analysis labs. In addition, Microban® technology has been proven effective in over 20,000 tests at over 27 independent laboratories around the world. Using industry standard testing methods, the samples above demonstrate the effectiveness of Microban® technology against bacteria that can cause stains, odors and product deterioration.
Microban is committed to environmental stewardship. We utilize low- and no-VOC products, non-formaldehyde formulations and recycled materials to ensure our products comply with applicable environmental regulations, such as Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and REACH, when used as directed and in the territories where they are sold. Integration of Microban® zinc additives is simple and seamless and does not disrupt existing manufacturing processes. Our engineers develop and test customized formulations of zinc pyrithione for each individual product. These custom formulations are then tested with your own materials both for antimicrobial effectiveness and to ensure that our antimicrobial zinc additives will not degrade or decrease the aesthetics or functionality of any part of your product.
Let's Get Started
Microban will work with you to ensure that the solution we deliver fits the desired antimicrobial performance and mold prevention criteria, and regulatory laws in your particular country. In addition, our global network of technical experts is available to address processing issues if they arise, while our customer service specialists are experienced in export/import, shipping and customers clearance to ensure timely delivery of our antimicrobial products to the manufacturing site of your choice.
Contact a member of the Microban team today to enhance your product line with Microban® antifungal and zinc antimicrobial technologies.