Article courtesy of Radical Materials

What is SteriTouch® antibacterial / antimicrobial and how does it work?

The antibacterial/antimicrobial surface protection uses innovative technology that harnesses the natural sterilising properties of silver. This protection is permanently embedded into several BST products and will not wear off over time.

Silver has been used for centuries for its natural sterilising properties. In recent years, this antibacterial/antimicrobial effect has been harnessed through the development of innovative carrier mechanisms, which enable the controlled release of silver ions, allowing silver to be incorporated into most materials without losing efficacy and without affecting the physical properties. The additives used, regardless of carrier mechanism, have comprehensive approvals, including those necessary for food contact applications.

An antibacterial/antimicrobial product will restrict the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mould. SteriTouch® harnesses the antibacterial/antimicrobial properties of silver to create additives for use in almost any material, from plastics and rubber to paints and fabrics, where hygiene, performance or aesthetics are important. 

The antibacterial/antimicrobial performance of the end product is confirmed by independent testing to the international standards (JIS and ISO), ensuring that all products meet the stringent requirements for the use of the SteriTouch® brand.

Is it safe?

One of the greatest concerns among consumers is, understandably, the safety of additives found in the products they buy. Most products offering SteriTouch® protection use an additive based on ionic silver, which holds extensive approvals including those for food contact. All of the active components we use are approved by the EFSA and FDA and supported on the Biocidal Product Regulations. 

Why choose a product with SteriTouch®? 

The main function of an antibacterial/antimicrobial product is to offer protection against a range of bacteria including E. coli, MRSA, Salmonella, and Legionella, as well as black mould growth, biofilm and fungi. 

Mould growth is responsible for costly redecoration cycles and respiratory complaints, especially in damp and humid environments where its prevention is otherwise difficult. SteriTouch® works continuously and effectively to restrict this growth before it appears. SteriTouch® eradicates the bacteria which cause contamination and infection, as well as those responsible for odours and staining. The antibacterial/antimicrobial effect also protects the product against degradation, extending its use. 

The purpose of SteriTouch® is not to create a sterile environment - we all know that being exposed to certain types of bacteria builds a healthy immune system. However, bacterial infections such as MRSA, E. coli, and Listeria can be very serious and SteriTouch® acts as a complementary measure to routine cleaning. 

How effective is it?

Products containing SteriTouch® are routinely tested at an independent laboratory and are typically proven to be at least 99.9% effective against MRSA and E. coli (Test reports available on request).

For applications requiring protection against other organisms, testing has also been carried out against Candida, Legionella, and Campylobacter. SteriTouch® is also effective against biofilm, the slimy substance caused by clusters of bacterial cells adhering to a hydrated surface. Biofilm is responsible for slippery bath mats, clogged drains, and even dental plaque, and can be very difficult to remove retrospectively.

Will it wear off?

Once SteriTouch® has been incorporated into a material it is essentially there to stay. Recent independent testing of a new paint range demonstrated no loss in antibacterial/antimicrobial performance even after 10 years of accelerated ageing.

Ionic silver based additives will not lose efficacy due to leaching or migration, and since they are evenly dispersed throughout the material even scratches and abrasion do not affect the antimicrobial performance.

Importantly, SteriTouch® additives are unaffected by cleaning chemicals such as chlorine bleach, disinfectants and alcohol. Even harsh industrial products like MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) do not diminish the antimicrobial properties of products containing SteriTouch®.

Is SteriTouch® effective against Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 - Supplied by Radical Materials

It depends on a variety of factors, such as additive levels, formulation chemistry and application (e.g.: moulding vs coating); and we’re working to overcome the issues.

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus, as are influenza A, feline coronavirus and human coronavirus NL63. SteriTouch® have tested against these three ‘surrogates’ and demonstrated that good levels of performance against each of them are feasible.  It may, therefore, be reasonable to infer that the same would be true of SARS-CoV-2… however, the results also show that active substances provide different levels of efficacy against different viruses, deactivating some more efficiently than others. For example, a treated material which achieves >90% reduction of feline coronavirus may not achieve any discernible reduction of human coronavirus NL63.

Regrettably, testing against SARS-CoV-2 remains prohibitively expensive for most companies.  However, it is now available and therefore we will begin to see more useful data on which we can base future formulations.  In the meantime, Radical Materials remain cautious.  By continuing to work on formulations and invest in testing, we aim to develop economically viable SteriTouch® antibacterial/antimicrobial additives and materials which will help protect against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Article courtesy of Radical Materials. Click here to read the full article on SteriTouch® and Coronavirus. .

Click here to view and download the BST AntiBacterial/Antimicrobial Range.