As concerns about the spread of bacteria are rising, the use of antimicrobials has become a hot topic across many markets. The fight against bacteria and microbes has been ongoing for centuries, and has proven to be one of the most difficult to win. After all, microbes are tiny, single-celled organisms that can grow and multiply right before your eyes – in certain environments, some can even be deadly.
The main reason for this ongoing battle is due to how resilient certain bacteria are. One study found that the harmful bacteria MRSA, a type of antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria which can cause skin infections, can easily survive seven days in enclosed areas. E.coli, known for causing deadly foodborne illnesses, survived four days.
Thus, the battle wages on.
So, what exactly are antimicrobials? And why are they so significant in fighting bacterial growth?
Antimicrobial additives inhibit the ability of microbes to grow, therefore protecting the applied surface from the spread and reproduction of harmful bacteria, as well as mold, fungi and mildew that causes odor and stains. Although they are not a solution to rid germs completely, antimicrobials are certainly a cost-effective way to help keep surfaces cleaner. As the usage of antimicrobial additives on frequently touched surfaces increases, there’s no doubt that antimicrobials will continue to play an increasing role in protecting surfaces.
There is a commonly used antimicrobial additive that has proven effective in reducing bacterial growth for decades: silver. Silver and most silver compounds are toxic for bacteria, algae and fungi by inhibiting the essential functions of the cell walls and interfering with the replication of DNA. Silver ions have been used as an antimicrobial safeguard for decades, and are nevertheless growing in several applications.
Leviton has been working to help aid in the fight against microbes by incorporating a tested and approved silver ion antimicrobial additive into the material of new switches and wallplates. These antimicrobial treated devices provide an extra layer of protection to their surfaces in between cleaning cycles. Stay tuned to find out how antimicrobial switches and wallplates are perfect for use in commercial and public applications.