When Normal Cleaning Isn't Enough
The quest for cleanliness is big business. The average American spends $42 per month on household cleaning supplies, more than they spend on cable TV, cell phones, personal care or even their beloved pets, trying to eliminate bacteria and fungi from their environments.
Moisture-retaining products, such as sponges, bath mats and shower curtains, exposed to humid environments like bathrooms and locker rooms, provide excellent breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and bacteria. These microorganisms, left uncontrolled, may lead to odor and damage to products and surfaces.
Disinfectant chemicals are an important way to keep our homes and public spaces clean, but they don’t provide continuous control of microorganisms. For example, hospital-approved disinfectants quickly reduce bacteria counts, but within 120 minutes of drying, bacteria will rebound above the established safe level of 250 CFU/100cm2, and disinfection must reoccur in order to keep the bacterial count down.
Also, disinfectants can contain harsh chemicals, including bleach and peroxide, which may cause respiratory irritation, be harmful if swallowed, injure bare skin, and damage or discolor the objects they’re trying to treat. Clearly, relying solely on disinfectant chemicals to continually control microorganisms is virtually impossible.
The Broad-Spectrum Antimicrobial
Unlike other antimicrobials such as silver and copper, ZPTech is a wide-spectrum antimicrobial, effective against not just bacteria but also the growth of fungi including mold, mildew and algae.
ZPTech is based on zinc pyrithione which was first developed in the 1930s for its antifungal and antibacterial properties, and it is still commonly used today as a main ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos and as an over-the-counter treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, athletes’ foot, ringworm and other medical conditions. Zinc pyrithione is also used in paints, textiles and polymer products to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi on susceptible surfaces.
ZPTech from Microban 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.
Its thermal stability – up to 235°C – makes it suitable for use in a variety of manufacturing applications and commodity thermoplastic polymer materials.
Microban ZPTech is not designed to replace a disinfectant, but rather complement and extend the effectiveness of standard chemical disinfecting routines. This adds another level of defense in the fight against bacteria, mold and mildew. With Microban ZPTech, the technology is constantly active on the surface and ready to be released. It’s dispersed throughout the polymer during the manufacturing process, so ZPTech remains effective even if an object is nicked, scratched or abraded in use.
ZPTech is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, and its multiple modes of action against bacteria and fungi prevent microbes from adapting and developing resistance against it. It 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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe to use in a variety of applications, including those that come in contact with food.
Pure zinc pyrithione is toxic and requires special equipment and operational procedures to handle. Microban’s ZPTech encapsulates zinc pyrithione in customized carriers, which makes it not only safe for manufacturer but also minimize any change to the production. The technology is bound to the material and remains inert until it comes into contact with a moist environment in which bacteria or fungi can grow. Moisture encourages the release of minute amounts of zinc – just enough to inhibit the microbe’s metabolism and prevent reproduction, without harm to humans.
How ZPTech® Is Implemented
Microban works individually with polymer converters to make ZPTech integration as simple and seamless as possible without disruption to existing manufacturing processes.
Our engineers develop customized formulations of ZPTech for each product. The formulations are tested with manufacturers’ own polymers both for antimicrobial effectiveness and to ensure that ZPTech will not degrade the aesthetics or function of the product, including those likely to be exposed frequently to UV light, which may yellow zinc-containing products.
Safety is always our primary concern, and we use our expertise to ensure that ZPTech is safe and non-toxic throughout the supply chain, from transport to manufacture to end users.
By providing ZPTech to manufacturers in encapsulated form, thermoplastic masterbatches or liquid dispersions, and training manufacturing staff on its proper use, Microban makes it very safe and easy to produce ZPTech polymer products.