We are often asked about the differences between the use of silver vs copper as an antimicrobial. For the record, copper and its alloys display excellent natural efficacy as an antimicrobial – but to be compliant with European and U.S. regulations, copper must be used in its elemental form. This brings aesthetic issues, as well as ongoing maintenance, as copper tarnishes over time. While this is fine for pipework, the reality of using solid copper alloys for items such as drinking bottles and hand dryers isn’t so practical – not to mention the expense!
Copper is also not supported within the Biocidal Products Regulation for use in polymers, and is only suitable for use in darker-coloured materials. While it has its uses – such as copper salts incorporated into wood preservatives, it is rarely suited to consumer products. The beauty of silver is its versatility; innovative carrier mechanisms have allowed us to create solutions for paints, coatings, plastics, rubber and fabrics, with permanent, invisible protection against mould, biofilm and bacteria. The active components we use are being supported within the EU Biocidal Products Regulation, which has been put in place to rid the market of unregistered and potentially dangerous biocides. All products containing an antimicrobial will be legally required to use a supported active ingredient for their product type (of which there are 22, ranging from veterinary hygiene to wood preservatives), and any unregistered products will need to be removed from the market.
SteriTouch active components are also approved by the FDA and EPA for use across America, and we’re always on hand to help with regulatory guidance and labelling requirements to keep you compliant.