BEWARE of misleading claims around “antimicrobial” and hygiene for solid surfaces
Confusing messages around hygiene and solid surfaces can create a false sense of safety, lowering the required attention to cleaning and disinfection practices.
Keep an eye out for creative language – especially when it comes to products claiming to be “antimicrobial.”
Users will always choose a product if it improves health or safety, but how do we know the claims being made on the label are accurate?
We have reviewed the fine print of several leading solid surface products and found many examples of misleading or vague claims about the effectiveness of antimicrobial technology.
Some companies claim their products are antimicrobial due to specific photocatalytic properties. To validate the antimicrobial claims, we asked several independent labs to use the same industry standard ISO testing protocols to perform the tests that companies used to substantiate these claims. Out of 15 tests, ZERO labs were able to detect any meaningful level of antimicrobial response.
BOTTOM LINE: These claims do not reflect real-world conditions, and they can encourage complacency regarding regular surface cleaning habits.
Some producers of solid surfaces describe their products having antiviral activity and claim that the infectious capacity of a coronavirus (but not the one that causes COVID-19) is reduced by approx. 80% after 24 hours. This is not a meaningful reduction. Data published by the same producers show that, after 48 hours, their solid surfaces and a control sample reach the same level of reduction. Viruses simply die over time from a lack of a host and food source.
BOTTOM LINE: Regular cleaning with a household disinfectant can kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria in less than 10 minutes. Any killing action that is slower or less effective should be dealt with scepticism.
Check the fine print
Some materials claim antimicrobial performance. Antimicrobial is a term used very widely and it refers to ‘any product that prevents the growth of/reduces the number of/mitigates the growth of microorganisms’. ‘Microorganisms’ include bacteria, fungi and viruses that depending on type may or may not cause disease (infection). Therefore, under this definition, ‘microorganisms’ also include all the bacteria and virus that might not be disease-causing.
In Europe, anti-bacterial claims require compliance with the Biocidal Product Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 (the BPR) to ensure that the material contains an active antimicrobial substance.
Only when reading the fine print, it can be seen that some materials state the technology protects the product itself against stain and odour-causing bacteria. But the product does not protect users or others from disease-causing bacteria.
BOTTOM LINE: These top-level antimicrobial claims can confuse users about what the products
can actually achieve.
Some companies are creative to avoid the applicable regulations like BPR by inventing alternative terms to “antimicrobial.” They use terms like “ultra-hygienic.” Because it doesn’t refer to “antimicrobial,” the product is not subject to rigorous testing requirements to prove the claims.
BOTTOM LINE: Buyers and specifiers should be aware that even products that don’t claim to be antimicrobial could be using a “creative” language to avoid rigorous testing and regulatory oversight.
BOTTOM LINE: Corian® Solid Surface paired with regular cleaning and disinfecting, is the best way to eliminate bacteria and viruses from a surface.
Corian® Solid Surface has a nonporous surface that prevents dirt and stains from penetrating the material. Marks and stains stay on the surface and can easily be removed. The seamless look of integrated Corian® Solid Surface countertops, sinks, and coved backsplashes means there are no crevices to trap and grow mould, germs and viruses. This simplifies cleaning, sanitising and routine maintenance. As a low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) material, Corian® Solid Surface is free from dangerous chemicals and hence contributes to a better Indoor Air Quality and has obtained a Greenguard Gold certification.
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