BioCote has been supplying antimicrobial additives and associated support services for nearly 25 years. During this time, we have heard a lot of interesting claims and counter-claims about the merits and pitfalls of antimicrobial technology; clearly a lack of understanding can lead to the emergence of ill-informed and inaccurate assertions. In a bid to put paid to this ‘codswallop’, we thought we’d attempt to bust a few myths, right a few wrongs and share a few home truths.
1. ‘Antimicrobial additives or the products protected by them don’t work in real life situations’
Most data provided by suppliers of products containing antimicrobial technology is generated under laboratory conditions. In truth, if an antimicrobial product can beat the microbes in the lab- where conditions for them to grow are at absolute optimum levels- they will have no problem in the real world. However, BioCote understand the confidence real-life data provides and that is why we regularly conduct studies in settings such as schools, hospitals and care homes to measure the performance of our partner products and demonstrate their everyday benefits. These studies repeatedly show that BioCote technologies are a reliable means to reduce the presence of bacteria and mould, keeping products more hygienic in real-life environments, not just in the lab.
2. ‘Antimicrobials can be dangerous to human health and the environment’
Antimicrobials are chemicals- chemicals which are used to kill microbes- and just like any other chemical, the inappropriate use of antimicrobial additives can have potentially damaging consequences. This is why their supply and use is regulated across the globe. We have seen some antimicrobials, like Triclosan, withdrawn from the market because of concerns about safety- to people, animals and/or the environment- and quite rightly so. However, our expertise means that all additives supplied by BioCote are application appropriate and registered with the relevant governing authorities around the world. Rest assured, antimicrobial additives can be used with confidence and without concern of unwanted side effects; and if they couldn’t, we simply would not supply them.
3. ‘The use of antimicrobials increase the risk of super-bugs’
The emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria- the so-called ‘superbugs’- is not attributed to biocides; microbiologically, antibiotics and biocides function in unrelated ways and antibiotic resistance does not implicate resistance to biocides. Whilst we can’t speak for all of our competitors, BioCote’s comprehensive range of additives has been repeatedly proven effective against an increasingly long list of superbugs including MRSA, VRE and CRE.
4. ‘It’s very hard, if not impossible, to determine if antimicrobial additives are in a particular product and, if so, which one is used’
To market a treated article- that is, a product containing a biocide but which is not a biocide itself- companies are required to fulfil certain regulatory obligations. In the EU the Biocidal Products Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) demands that any treated article placed on the market must be labelled accordingly; i.e. state that the product contains a biocide, detail what the biocide is and stipulate the purpose for its inclusion. Furthermore, manufacturers must be prepared to share detailed information in writing about the additive and how it has been applied to their product upon request. Likewise, to legally market a treated article in the USA under the terms of FIFRA, a primary requirement is that you are using an EPA registered pesticide, such as those supplied by BioCote. Failure to do this can result in substantial bad press and even a hefty fine for the improper marketing of an unregistered pesticide. When it comes to biocides, the concept of hidden or mystery ingredients is definitely a thing of the past!
5. ‘Manufacturers stretch the truth of their marketing claims about the benefits of antimicrobial products, potentially misleading consumers’
We accept this can happen, but not with BioCote partner companies. We work in close conjunction with our partners to ensure antimicrobial performance claims are market appropriate. In fact, a condition of working with BioCote is that we must approve any antimicrobial claims made by our partners prior to them being published. A company marketing a treated article in the correct manner should be able to substantiate any performance claims made about their product by providing appropriately gathered data- whether that’s about the types of microbes which the technology is effective against or how long the protection will last. Misleading consumers with outlandish claims is not only inappropriate but it also flies directly in the face of existing legislation which has been put into place to protect consumers and enable them to make informed buying decisions.
6. ‘You don’t have to clean antimicrobial products and surfaces’
Not true. Antimicrobial technology will not remove dirt and grime but it will enhance any existing cleaning protocols by killing microbes. There can be no doubt that proper cleaning practices are an essential element of infection control, but even the most thorough of routines have performance limitations. Typically cleaning chemicals have only a short term effect and surfaces are quickly susceptible to microbial contamination; for example, research has shown that hospitals which have been deep-cleaned once again become microbial havens in a matter of hours. However, surfaces which incorporate BioCote® Antimicrobial Technology benefit from around-the-clock protection against bacteria and mould, meaning contamination levels can be controlled and the hygiene of surfaces and/or environments can be maintained until the next time cleaning is due.
As you’ve probably guessed, choosing the right antimicrobial brand to partner with is an important decision; it can be the difference between success and failure. A partnership with BioCote not only offers you a solid relationship with a trusted and global brand, but also the collective knowledge and experience of a team of people who will become your dedicated antimicrobial department.
For more information on the merits of BioCote® Technology and the benefits of partnering with us, call +44 (0)2477 712 489.