AgION enters the Mold Growth Suppression Market

Coatings World: January 2004

AgION Technologies has completed its first project treating interior building surfaces with the AgION antimicrobial compound to suppress mold and bacteria growth. The Carpenter’s Union Metropolitan Regional Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity, a local affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, used AgION’s advanced coating system, AgION TC-1000, to treat surfaces including concrete, wood, steel, brick, plaster and stucco, to inhibit mold growth on the surface of the coating in its 80-year-old, 28,000 sq. ft historic building in central Philadelphia. AgION’s silver antimicrobial is the first and only product registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for on-site use in applications including walls, ceilings and floors in food processing facilities, hotels, schools, office buildings and hospitals and in food collection, storage, conveyance, transportation, food processing equipment and appliances.

AgION’s advanced coating system TC-1000 enhances the controlled release of silver ions from the AgION compound, providing efficacy on demand. The AgION antimicrobial agent inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, fungi, and yeasts that may cause odors, staining, discoloration, deterioration, and corrosion. The active agent within the AgION antimicrobial compound is ionic silver in an inorganic, inert, ceramic compound that allows the slow release of silver ions from the treated surface. The slow release of silver ions on demand provides long lasting, safe, and durable protection against microbial growth that can cause odors and property damage.

The historic building being renovated by the Carpenter’s Union has 3 floors and a basement. When acquired, it had not been in use for 8 years, was in disrepair and had significant mold growth on the building interior surfaces. The building had suffered extensive water damage from roof leaks and plumbing breaks. After extensive renovations, the interior surfaces were cleaned and coated with the TC-1000 coating system with AgION antimicrobial compound to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew.

"We are delighted to partner with the Carpenter’s Union in our first commercial project to coat building surfaces to inhibit post-remediation mold growth. This is the latest example of AgION innovating with technology to meet the market needs. Following our first-in-class EPA registration for field coatings, this project represents the launch of our Upgrade Solutions Business. Bacterial and mold contamination in facilities results in billions of dollars annually in property damage, remediation costs, and costs associated with facility closures, and the AgION Upgrade Solutions business is positioned to address this problem," explains J. Ladd Greeno, President and Chief Executive Officer of AgION Technologies, Inc.

“We are excited to have implemented a cutting edge solution from AgION Technologies that inhibits mold growth on our building surfaces”, said Ed Coryell, Executive Secretary, Treasurer and Business Manager of the Carpenter’s Union Metropolitan Regional Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity.


AgION Technologies is a leader in providing engineered antimicrobial solutions that continuously inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and fungus on a broad range of industrial, consumer and medical products. Users of AgION’s solutions include Carrier Corporation, AK Steel Corporation, Bosch Siemens, DuPont Powder Coatings, Vygon, Mile High Equipment, Lyon Metal, Sargent (Assa Abloy) and Watermate Filter Systems


Breakthrough in chlorine dioxide production technology.

China Chemical Reporter: February 2004

A new reducing agent has been jointly developed by the Chemistry School of Sichuan University and Chengdu Chuanda Jinzhong Science and Technology Co Ltd. The reaction between the reducing agents and chlorates in acid conditions can generate chlorine dioxide with a purity of more than 95%. This will greatly promote the replacement of chlorine by chlorine dioxide in drinking water decontamination. This is a very cost-effective approach compared with existing processes and gives a higher level of purity. The new process has the advantages of high conversion rate, high product purity, no generation of byproduct chlorine, low price, and easy availability of reducing agent. Potassium sulfate, sodium chloride, and potassium phosphate can also be co-produced according to different chlorates and acids used in the reaction.

Lonza expands portfolio with three new products.

HAPPI: January 2004

Lonza Inc has launched three new products: Glycacil SG, Dantoserve SG and Lonzagard NAHS. Glycacil SG is an idopropynyl butylcarbamate that is claimed to be the most sophisticated preservative of its type. It is suitable for household products such as liquid dishwashing detergent, and light-duty liquids because of its fungicidal activity and water-solubility. Dantoserve SG, also a preservative, is a combination of DMDM hydantoin and benzisothiazoline used for protection of a wide range of household and industrial products against microbial spoilage. Lonzagard NAHS 10X Concentrate can be used for hand sanitizer formulations. Lonzagard NAHS enables customers to prepare a non-alcohol hand sanitizer that uses Lonzagard benzethonium chloride as the active ingredient

Sanitized® Silver approved for plastics in contact with foodstuffs

Plastic Additives: January 2004

With its innovative active ingredient Sanitized® Silver, the Swiss firm of SANITIZED AG, which has been developing and manufacturing antimicrobial additives for 50 years, has achieved a path-breaking success in a future-oriented market segment.

U.S. approval for its use in plastic articles coming in contact with foodstuffs is the high-point in the product's history up to now. "The approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirms our efforts to offer effective and at the same time safe additives for the antimicrobial treatment of plastics,"    declares Product Manager Heinz Studer.

The innovative active ingredient based on natural silver is particularly resistant to discoloration and, even in direct contact with foodstuffs such as cheese, leads to no discolorations whatsoever, unlike some other silver-based active substances.

"Thanks to the use of a unique glass ceramic carrier we were able to practically double the product's efficacy compared with other silver-based active substances and reduce its application amount by one half," explains Heinz Studer, who adds, "Our experience has shown that the market demands effective and also efficient active substances that do not impair the properties of the material. With Sanitized® Silver we have succeeded in meeting these high demands."

The application possibilites are manifold and include all products of plastic that come in contact with foodstuffs such as packaging materials, storing containers, cutting boards, brushes, working surfaces in foodstuff processing industries, etc. When it's a matter of bringing projects for the antimicrobial finishing of plastics rapidly to success, SANITIZED is the preferred partner. This is assured by our competent specialists, our focus on the customer's requirements and our in-house testing laboratories    with a capacity for carrying out over 30,000 tests per year.

An analysis of Silver Antimicrobials

Modern Plastics Summary: 2003

The first components made from polymers compounded with silver are establishing a toehold in the North American and European Medical markets. Proponents hope that these pioneering applications will prove the worth of the materials and lead to their widespread use. However demonstrating to potential users the real cost benefit of the expensive additives remains an issue.

Nosocomial infections - those picked up in hospitals - are a big problem and cost billions of dollars each year. In Germany, more people die from catheter related infection than from traffic accidents, says Michael Wagener, MD of antimicrobial developer Bio-Gate Bioinnovative Materials, Nurenberg, Germany.

Organic antimicrobials like triclosan have limitations due to temperature sensitivity and varying compatibility with different polymer matrics that can lead to too fast or too slow an activity, explains Andrew Barclay, technical manager of compounder Wells Plastics, England. Silver is widely recognised as being safe and has high heat stability (over 500 degrees centigrade) and low volatility, making it suitable for use with engineering polymers, notes Barclay. It also provides long lasting effectiveness and wash resistance.

Wells plastics provides the Bactiglas range based on soluble complexz glasses. A molded TPE stethoscope diaphragm cover has been on the market for almost four years, but the bigger volume in the medical market goes for anaesthesia systems, including extruded polypropylene and polyethylene tubing and injection molded high impact polystyrene connectors.

 Current commercial products generally rely on a zeolite or ceramic as a carrier for silver. Silver ions are released by the presence of moisture or another metallic ion, with the loading of the silver and the design of the carrier tailored to the necessary release rate so that effectiveness lasts the life of the part. Most of the antimicrobials are produced by firms in Japan, even if marketed by non Japanese firms.

Asia - Pacific has led the use of silver antimicrobials, notes Fred Gastrock, project manager at market researcher BRG Townsend. Indeed only a few years ago, the region accounted for close to 100 % of global consumption, which he reckoned was 5 million to 10 million ibs in 2001. Demand has steadily been increasing in North America and Europe, with each now accounting for about 6 to 7 % of the market, but with only limited uses so far, he says.

Stethoscope and Catheters Lead the Way

Doctor’s Research Group (DRG), Plymouth, CT, introduced in 2001 safeseal stethoscope diaphragm covers with AgION antimicrobial. DRG has made over 10 million of the injection molded thermoplastic elastomer covers, says Dwayne Poteet, vp. Of sales. It expects to produce about 5 million this year. The warm to-the-touch covers sell for about $ 1 each and are marketed worldwide. Many are used by promotions from the Drug companies.

While those numbers seem large, there are 16 million stethoscope wearers in the US alones, notes Poteet. So far, response has been greater from emergency staff than from hospital infection control specialists. One reason, he believes, is that the latter are loathe to admit to an infection control problem. This hinders the broader acceptance of medical goos containing silver antimicrobials, too, say other observers.

AgIon is used at about a 5 % level. DRG suggests that the covers be changed weekly, although the antimicrobial effectiveness is far longer.

Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, CA, started selling Vantex central venous catheters with Oligon antimicrobial from Bioenvision, New York. The extruded polyurethane catherers are sold globally and come in a variety of sizes in2-,3- and 4-lumen configuration. The company will not reveal the level of antimicrobial used. It compounds the PUR internally and says tested antimicrobial is over one year in the body. The market volume of Vantex remains guarded, but Edwards says the catheter has aroused strong interest, and sales should grow as clinical eveidence of the effectiveness of the antimicrobial builds. It is evaluating other applications for Oligon such as pulmonary artery catheters which has received US FDA approval. Oligon technology involves impregnation a polymer with silver, platinum and carbon particles. Then, when contacted by an ionic fluid such as saline or body fluids, an electrochemical reaction takes place, releasing silver ions.

Vygon, Ecouen, France has offered Multicath Expert Central Venous Catheters with AgIon with 30 day plus antimicrobial protection. Acceptance in the UK has been excellent says Alan Martin, business manager for Vygon UK. He predicts that 70 % of all central venous catheters will contain silver antimicrobials by 2008, driven by further clinical research demonstrating the effectiveness of the materials.   Ravi Bhatkal, AgION’s vp for strategy sees promise for other types of catheters and in implants such as compoenets for pacemakers and orthopedic devices. AgIon uses a zeolite carrier.

Ensinger, Nufringen, Germany, provides stock shapes containing AgIon for applications like polyetheretherketone handles for dental instruments, says Fran Alder, Medical market development specialist in Washington, PA. Surgical handles and thermoformed polyphenylene sulfone sterilization trays for surgical instruments. Tests of the trays have shown no loss of antimicrobial efficacy after 50 autoclaving cycles. He says that such trays will take 30% of the market in five years.

Milliken Chemicals, began offering AlphaSan, a zirconium phosphate based ceramic ion exchange resin containing silver in Europe and US says Geoff Haas, market manager. Unilke other products, it does not impart color, he claims. It is now being used in products such as silicone tubing.

Ciba started marketing silver antimicrobials under the name of Irgaguard B5000 which features a zeolite carrier and is now being used for medical ancillaries like bed pans, says Melinda Reyes, senior marketer of new product lines, in Tarrytown, NY. A catheter containing the material should be marketed this year along with a base and casters for a mobile blood pressure monitoring unit.

Clariant has introduced sanitised silver says marketing manager Marla Brandon. It relies on a glass ceramic carrier and does not pose color change issues she adds. Medical has not been a prime focus but hospital flooring and mattresses are in the works and prosthetics are a possibility.

The antimicrobials are far more costly than other additives. Clariant’s Brandon, quotes a price range of $ 40 to $ 90 per ib. Andrew Barclay of Well’s Plastics  notes that a masterbatch generally sells for $ 30 to $ 35 per ib. Typical addition rates of 0.25 % to 0.5 % (400:1 TO 200:1) to give a raw material on cost of  7 to 17.5 cent per ib, he says. RTP’s Marshall reckons a minimum added cost of 75 cent per ib while Geoff Haas of Milliken places the figure at $ 1 per ib.

Price is the issue, stresses Jody Walker, engineering product manager at stock shapes distributor Curbell Plastics, Orchard Park, NY. A shape with a silver antimicrobial is thre to four times the cost of one without it, he says, adding that customers are interested in using the additive until they see the price. Price would not be as much an issue in the medical marekt if the value of using the materials to combat nosocomial infections were more fully appreciated. Lack of clinical trials is a factor and so is lack of market awareness. However, in the US for instance, producers of items using antimicrobials can only cite their value in protecting the product, not people who come into contact with it. The inability to claim a health benefit is a signigicatn hindrance, many suppliers complain.

Clariant Masterbatches has recently started offereing masterbatches containing AlphaSan and expects its first medical applications to be commercialized in 2004 says Manfred Dicks, Winchester, VA based vp of additive masterbatches for the Americas.

Bio-Gates Nanosilver BG uses elemental silver and comes as a nanoporous powder containing 1- to 5- micron particles, and as 10-micron particles nanodispersed in liquid, notes Michael Wagener who is MD. The company is working on about 10 medical applications, including prosthetics. An endotracheal catheter is likely to be the first commercialised.

RTP, Winona, MN has offered the materials for a long time, says Kevin Marshall, medical market manager, but has been more actively pursuing applications over the last two years. It is not providing material for medical applications yet, but expects the first such products in 2004.

A. Schulmann, Akron, OH, has supplied compounds with silver antimicrobials for several years, says Rengarajan Ramesh, vp of technology. The firm deliberately steers clear of invasive items like catheters, but has some medical ancillary applications in the works. For instance, a carrier tray should be out by the end of the year.

The cost issue will diminish as the idea of reducing infections take hold and as doctors become more convinced to use antimicrobials, says Bio_Gate’s Wagener. It’s just a masster of times, agree’s AgION’s Bhatkal. Five years from now, people will ask why it took so long to adopt the antimicrobial, adds Marshall. A. Schulman’s Ramesh, for one, sees global volume doubling or tripling in 6 or 7 years.