In addition to thermal stability, colour fastness and resistance to sterilisation
In view of the German hygiene laws, continuous developments of antimicrobial materials are necessary, particularly in antimicrobial compounds used to help reduce hospital infections. ProvaMed compounds suitable for injection moulding and extrusion and manufactured by Actega DS, the coatings and sealants products division of German chemicals group Altana, include additives which not only lend germicidal characteristics but also thermal stability, colour fastness and resistance to the various sterilisation methods applied.
The figures on patients contracting or dying from hospital infections every year in Germany vary. While the German government assumes around 400,000 to 600,000 illnesses and approximately 7,500 to 15,000 deaths, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Krankenhaushygiene (German Association of Hospital Hygiene) puts the figure at 720,000 to 900,000 infections.
Apart from meticulous adherence to hospital hygiene, products made from antimicrobial plastics can help to reduce the number of infections. Anything which could spread germs simply by means of skin contact, unsterilised medical products or contact with surfaces can be avoided or minimised when light switches, handles, device enclosures, seals, catheters, drip tubes and bags, inhalers, ventilation filters and medical aids in contact with the human body over longer periods of time are made of antimicrobial plastic compounds or coatings, the company says.
Various methods are available for attributing antimicrobial features to a compound
Various methods are available for attributing antimicrobial features to a compound, e.g. by introducing metal salts as additives. Copper or silver salts are often used, whereby antimicrobial properties can be achieved by subsequently impregnating the surfaces or directly introducing the additive to the material volume. The material is suitable for both the injection-moulding process and for extrusion. In principle, embedding such additives in plastics or their coatings has a similar effect to that of a highly-effective bactericide.
The use of silver ions or glass fibres in the injection-mouldable granulate ensures a high resistance to a variety of fungi, bacteria and yeasts whose propagation can be effectively reduced. Technical medical products can also be disinfected using conventional methods.
Apart from applying additives to provide germicidal properties, thermal stability, colour fastness and resistance to the various sterilisation methods, ProvaMed TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) also has a minimum migration potential, bio-compatibility, offers protection from irritations of the mucous membranes and is free of PVC, phthalates, silicone and latex. They display very good adhesive properties in a wide range of plastics, the company says.
ProvaMed has also been approved for use in direct contact with food as it is temperature stable and waterproof.