09 Apr Looking for surfaces that naturally do not support microbial growth? Look no further.
The current health crisis surrounding COVID-19 has generated many questions for Panolam relating to our Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL) and High Pressure Laminate (HPL) products and their abilities to prevent microbial growth. These questions are especially important due to the various marketing claims made by others regarding products being “anti-microbial” in nature. Panolam’s HPL and TFL products are designed to be durable, easy to maintain, and easy to clean. Due to their design, their surfaces naturally do not support microbial growth.
As a leader in the engineered surface space, Panolam has continued to monitor, research and test various products available on the market. Thus far, Panolam has found no research or scientific evidence that any additives to our products would enhance their ability to prevent microbial growth. We also feel strongly that any claims made about these additives are very confusing to the end user, and in some cases can be misleading about the material’s characteristics.
The Healthy Building Network has performed several studies that have indicated no health benefits regarding antimicrobial substances in building materials. The most recent study, which spanned seven years, also notes that the wide use of some antimicrobials (including triclosan, nanosilver, silver zeolite and quaternary ammonia compounds) may be associated with increasing microbial resistance to these substances – and potentially therapeutic antibiotics as well. In addition, it cites recent findings from the National Institute of Standards and Technology that nanoparticles (including silver-based antimicrobials) can leach out of the products they are incorporated into.
The white paper also cites CDC research concluding that no data supports antimicrobial additives in hospital products as part of an infection control strategy, while the FDA drew a similar conclusion about the health benefits of antimicrobial hand soaps. While Panolam will continue to stay up to date on market research and studies, at this time we cannot recommend or market any products with additives in them making claims of additional antimicrobial properties above standard characteristics of HPL and TFL.
With the current focus on cleanliness and resistance to chemicals, Panolam does produce and market lines of products that naturally do not support microbial growth. These products are nonporous in nature and available with features such as Chemguard for chemical resistance. This makes them ideal for keeping clean in the most stringent environments. Please contact your local rep for details or recommendations for your specific application.