When it comes to keeping people safe in healthcare environments and reducing the risk of infections, there are many studies showing that the most critical factors are hygiene and cleaning. But what about so called antimicrobial products? Firstly, are they any good and secondly, should we use them?
Bacteria resistant paint coatings, copper doorknobs, silver ion infused curtains are just a few examples of the more than 2,000 products on the market claiming to have antimicrobial properties. In the US alone it’s an USD4.5Bn industry and growing according to a new white paper by architect firm Perkins+Will and the Healthy Building Network. The paper, however, highlights that “many of these products that are marketed as “healthy” may do more harm than good.”
Lack of evidence
Firstly, there is very little evidence that any of these products actually help human health. In fact the paper states that there is no evidence. Secondly, antimicrobial substances may be very effective at killing bacteria in the short term and in a laboratory environment. In the long term, real world environment, these substances wear out and can help to create more resistant microbes – the superbugs of the future. Finally, some substances like silver ions and formaldehyde are destructive to the environment as the toxic materials eventually leach out into the surrounding ecosystem.
Hudevad Care agrees. Based on the research of our in-house microbiologist, we do not use antimicrobial products. Studies show that good cleaning using standardised processes can be more effective than other disinfection interventions. That is why we design our products on the principle that they should be easy to clean, with features like flat front panels and totally sealed steel casings.
Considering the risks of using antimicrobials, we choose to use good design to solve problems rather than risk contributing to new ones.
Links for further reading (note: not associated with Hudevad Care in any way):
White Paper: Antimicrobial Building Products Should Be Avoided Whenever Possible
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