The fight against infections, the proliferation of viruses or bacteria is a daily battle in many sectors. Health and care establishments, research laboratories and industrial food production sites fight them on a daily basis with strict hygiene and cleaning protocols.
We also notice that more and more establishments that receive from the public (ERP) such as supermarkets or administrations are adopting germ control solutions. It is now common to see hydro-alcoholic solution dispensers on reception desks or disinfectant wipes for trolleys at supermarket entrances.
These preventive measures against pathogenic infections put in place by institutions or public sites reassure us all. The detection of new strains of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and nosocomial infections reinforce health concerns and public fears about hygiene.
According to the national survey conducted by the Institut de veille sanitaire, there are 750,000 nosocomial infections each year, resulting in 4,000 deaths in France alone.
Of the 5 to 10 million types of bacteria presumed to exist, three bacterial strains are responsible for half of all nosocomial infections. Bacterial strains Escherichia coli represent 26% of infections, Staphylococcus aureus are responsible for 16% of contaminations and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains infect 8.4% of patients. These strains are therefore the first to be controlled in order to ensure an environment less conducive to the development of nosocomial infections.
The Ministry of Solidarity and Health has also set up a portal for reporting adverse health events since March 2017. More than 40,000 cases have already been recorded and are used to clearly read the concentration and worrying health safety cases.
Building materials improve basic hygiene
Infections can be controlled by building and building material design methods, but what are they? In addition to the systematic implementation and application of strict hygiene protocols and measures, building materials and design models limit the proliferation of germs or kill bacteria in our living environments.
For example, from the design stage, building floors in such a way as to allow adequate drainage of cleaning water and opting for rounded corners between walls, floors and ceilings contribute to good cleanability of the structure.
As such, industries specialized in the design of construction materials have developed products adapted to the constraints of sensitive environments. Some of the finishing of the finishing work is waterproof. This is the case for some joint covers with waterproof membranes designed for joints between floors and walls or weldable skirting boards. These solutions prevent water infiltration and the proliferation of bacteria, which are fond of wetlands where the temperature is between 4° and 60°C.
This precaution, as well as limiting the number of tile joints made with mortar and preferring silicone heat-sealed solutions, also prevents increased bacterial growth. It should be kept in mind that all the areas that are difficult to clean will be real microbial nests, especially if the surface is porous, such as plasterboard.
For example, plastic or acrovynilic resin wall cladding panels have many advantages for high-risk environments. Their large size limits the number of joints and their non-porous surface is easy to clean. These passive weapons, also available in profiles (bumpers and corner guards), have the advantage of protecting walls from damage and breaches, gaps that are equally appreciated by microbes.
To go further in the fight against pathogenic infections, construction manufacturers use these building materials as well as mobility aid profiles (handrails, ramps…) with different properties effective against bacteria, mainly bactericidal or bacteriostatic.
But in practice, what bacteriological action can be used to fight against the appearance of a pathogenic biofilm on surfaces?
The so-called bacteriostatic surfaces temporarily prevent the multiplication of bacteria under defined conditions of use (the strains concerned and the duration of action on the bacteria are determined). Proliferation is inhibited but bacteria are not killed. While so-called bactericidal surfaces kill bacteria, always under defined conditions. The term antibacterial refers to a product or process whose activity is not explicitly specified. This fuzzy term does not specify the action or bacterial spectra covered. It may very well be a bactericidal or bacteriostatic action.
These nuances are essential to know and consider whether the place to be preserved is a sensitive environment. It is too often noted that many manufacturers use the terms antibacterial or bacteriostatic without providing any test reports. The evaluation is based solely on the fact that the surface of the coating is smooth and therefore easier to clean. Maintenance is faster and can be integrated more frequently into cleaning routines. Logically, bacteria adhere less easily and are less numerous. It should therefore be seen more as a coating conducive to strict hygiene than as a product with antimicrobial or antibacterial properties.
What are the standards applied to second-hand materials?
Inspired by the rigorous Japanese standard JIS Z 2801, the international standard ISO 22196 (Plastics – Measurement of antibacterial action on plastic surfaces) tests the antibacterial and antimicrobial effectiveness of non-porous surfaces, plastic or for plastic derivatives. The NF EN 1040 standard evaluates bactericidy, i.e. the ability to kill vegetative bacteria with spectra defined in the standard.
A draft standard (PR) NF S90-700 (Method for evaluating the basic bactericidal activity of a non-porous surface) is still at the public inquiry stage but should soon be published. However, this future French standard (NF) would not have the international scope of ISO (International Organization for Standardization).
What about Acrovyn® Bactericide?
The bactericidal action provided by Acrovyn® Bactericide wall coverings is the only one on the market that makes it possible to kill two of the three strains responsible for half of the nosocomial infections detected by the Institut de veille sanitaire.
Table of bacterial strains concerned for a bactericidal Acrovyn® plate: Activity tested according to ISO 22196 and interpreted according to NF EN 1040.
|Bacterial strains tested||Hospital-acquired infection||Acrovyn® Bactericide actions on bacterial stains||Bacterial persistence|
|Escherichia coli||26%||Recognized as a bactericide surface by the tests||0%|
|Staphylococcus aureus||16%||Recognized as a bactericide surface by the tests||0%|
|Mycobacterium Smegmatis||Recognized as a bactericide surface by the tests||0%|
|MRSA||Recognized as a bacteriostatic surface by the tests||0.1%|
|Salmonella Enteridis||Recognized as a bacteriostatic surface by the tests||0.1%|
|Listeria monocytogènes||Recognized as a bacteriostatic surface by the tests||0.5%|
|Enterocorrus sp||Recognized as a bacteriostatic surface by the tests||0.5%|