Mould Remediation and Prevention: A Non-Traditional Solution

Researchers at Dow Corning in the late 1960s developed a method of attaching biocidal agents to many different surfaces. The solution was a non-volatile antimicrobial polymer which provided protection against bacteria and other microorganisms for an extended period of time, providing continuous protection against the growth of mildew and other fungi as well as bacteria and viruses. Unlike other antimicrobial products, microorganisms have never been found to develop immunity against this biocidal polymer.

Dow Corning’s technology made it possible to do something that had never been possible before: to prevent the growth of mildew and other microbes, including pathogens on surfaces which had been treated with the polymer, even after repeated use and cleaning of the surface. This technology has now been integrated into Germ Solutions and its ability to provide long-term prevention of microbial contamination on indoors surfaces is well known due to case histories and peer reviewed studies.

Defensive Strategies

Protecting homes and other structures against microbial contamination is something which should be considered from the beginning of the design process, before construction even begins. Building materials and techniques as well as the design of the structure must be taken into account with the goal of minimise potential habitats for microbes. This includes the installation and maintenance of HVAC systems and other important elements of the home.

A careful consideration of building use, attention to environmental management and the selection of appropriate furnishings and other equipment can go a long way towards reducing the potential for microbial growth in any building. New technology has also enabled new methods of microbial control; no longer are conventional cleaning products and disinfectants the only choice. New chemically bonded, non-volatile polymer technology is available which provides long term protection against microbial growth on indoor surfaces. Proper application can eliminate existing microbial growth and greatly inhibit future growth to extend maintenance and/or renovation schedules.

Chemistry and Mode of Action

The Germ Solutions Program and its Germ Solutions technology and products are registered with the United States EPA; it is also approved for use under the provisions US FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act). In Canada, Germ Solutions is approved for on-site application on all porous and non-porous interior non-food contact surfaces. It is, for all intents and purposes, a permanent antimicrobial which becomes a new surface where it is applied which offers a high degree of resistance to microbial growth. It does not offgas, leach or volatilize; it simply remains where it has been applied, which makes it much safer and more effective than other antimicrobial products available.

There are two major types of antimicrobial products: unbound and bound, denoting whether the product forms a molecular bond with the surface where it is applied. Most antimicrobials are unbound, meaning that they leach out of the surface over time. This slow release of the antimicrobial is what provides its effect, but it also means that the active ingredient dissipates over time; and this can allow microbes to develop resistance.

Germ Solutions is a bound antimicrobial which forms a molecular bond to the surface where it is applied and unlike unbound antimicrobials which work by essentially poisoning microorganisms, Germ Solutions works by disrupting the cell membrane of the microbe, resulting in lysis. Since it’s a physical process rather than a chemical one as is used by unbound antimicrobial products, it is not possible for microorganisms to develop immunity to this product.

Features

Germ Solutions provides a broad spectrum of antimicrobial protection which is effective against all common bacterial and fungal pathogens. Its features include:

  1. Odourless, colourless; will not stain fabrics or other surfaces
  2. Does not off-gas or leach
  3. Microorganisms cannot develop immunity, does not encourage superbugs
  4. Contains no heavy metals, phenols or other toxins
  5. Bonds permanently to the surfaces where it is applied
  6. Can be applied to virtually any interior surface

Durability

Germ Solutions forms durable ionic and covalent bonds with the surface it is applied to, creating a co-polymer in the process. The nitrogen molecules in the polymer have a positive charge which physically disrupts the cell membrane of microbes. This disruption kills the microbe and the polymer remains active and ready to kill the next microbe which comes along. Since Germ Solutions uses a physical process to kill microbes rather than a chemical one which poisons the organisms, it is impossible for them to develop immunity, so it does not encourage the development of resistant superbugs like MRSA.

Verification

Consumers who are interested in antimicrobial products may be interested in knowing whether the performance of these products lives up the claims made by their manufacturers. In the case of Germ Solutions, testing can be done by staining treated surfaces with a solution of bromophenol blue at .04%. The dye bonds to the nitrogen in the product, causing a permanent royal blue color.

Applications

Germ Solutions can be used virtually anywhere that the prevention of microbial control is desired, including:

Disasters Remediation and Prevention:

  1. Carpets
  2. Wallboard
  3. Furnishings
  4. Framing timber
  5. New construction

Environmental Modification:

  1. Bathroom fixtures and shower stalls
  2. Pool decks
  3. HVAC systems
  4. Gyms and health clubs
  5. Food surface areas
  6. Customer contact areas
  7. Key touch points

Hypoallergenic Environments:

  1. Bedding
  2. Frequently touched objects – doorknobs, railings, lift buttons,etc.
  3. Hospital surfaces

When it comes to protection from microbial growth, the best defense is a strong offense. Having a long term antimicrobial solution in place which is known to be effective can be an important component of your environmental control systems and procedures.

Testimonials

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