Antimicrobial Materials for Plastic Injection Molding?


I am doing research on a products that are manufactured on a large scale in which are made using antimicrobial/antibacterial type of plastics (that are not Medical related). Can someone please name some products and what is the type of plastic being used in these products.

Also, I can see how antimicrobial/antibacterial are beneficial in the medical filed…however, is there any benefits in other everyday product? is it more expensive to manufacturer, etc?

any info that can assist in this research would be great!

thank you in advanced.

The main player here is Microban. They offer additives which can be added to many base polymers.

Also added to many consumer goods, often related to cooking/nursery goods for obvious reasons.

I think these additives will continue to gain traction from consumers, however I’ll leave you to come to your conclusion of the benefits over general cleaning with household soaps!

Microban is the 600 pound gorilla. I have run some parts with that additive. Cost is negligible. But so are the results.

The ONLY claim you can make by an antimicrobial additive (or coating, there are a few out there) is that bacteria will not be able to degrade the plastic part itself.

You CANNOT claim that it will stop/slow the spread of bacteria from the plastic part to human hands.

Your marketing types will of course advertise that the product is antimicrobial. But that is all they will write, “Antimicrobial Additive”, and let the consumer come to their own incorrect conclusions that the product will somehow protect them from the spread of disease. It does not in any way.

This is great info

I forgot to mention silver, the other 600-pound gorilla.

It doesn’t work either, but it is expensive.

A little bit off-topic, but it’s worth mentioning that copper is the real wonder material when it comes to antimicrobial materials.

I beg to differ. Copper is no better than silver.

Copper is certainly a powerful one. Why do you think we’re making IUD’s out of them? :slight_smile:

After incubation for one hour on copper, active influenza A virus particles were reduced by 75%.[41][42] After six hours, the particles were reduced on copper by 99.999%. Influenza A virus was found to survive in large numbers on stainless steel.

Recent studies have shown that copper alloy surfaces kill E. coli O157:H7.[24][25] Over 99.9% of E. coli microbes are killed after just 1–2 hours on copper. On stainless steel surfaces, the microbes can survive for weeks.

Copper has a long folk-history of successfully inhibiting biological growth, not just in trials. One of my colleagues’ landscape design firm uses copper-lined planters to constrain tree root growth. It’s like magic; the roots turn away in fear once they reach the copper wall of the planter.

Glad someone mentioned it. We just made our healthcare class products bright white. Since there was no marketing benefit that legally could be claimed there was no reason to put it in the product.

I understand the anti-microbial properties of copper. In general it has a 3log reduction in a couple of hours. Not bad, but it that item is touched more than once in 2 hours, it is just reinfected.

What is the ultimate objective of an antimicrobial? To reduce infections. I will guarantee you will not find a single paper in pubmed that shows the use of copper lowering infections. And I really doubt you will ever see one. Killing in a petri dish is far different than killing in the real world.

Think about the use scenario. It takes 2 hours to reduce bacteria by 99.9%. So if an object gets low traffic, hardly gets touched, the copper may have some efficacy. An object that gets used a lot - door knob, keyboard, etc - will be a source of infection because the copper will have no efficacy against high traffic touches. Where do you think these infections come from in the first place? Low or high traffic items?

Also, an iud’s method of efficacy differs from an antiseptic method.

And for the record, silver gets about a 5log reduction (99.999%) in a couple of hours.

Still sucks.

Well, of course, if something’s reinfected…much like touch-up paint doesn’t work very well if you re-scratch a car…?

But I like one of your final points; the surfaces that would benefit most from antimicrobial properties in the first place are those that are probably the highest-traffic. So unless your microbes are dead within minutes, or seconds, there’s still plenty of potential victims.

Still, I could see there being applications for which 99% @ ~2hrs would be better than nothing.

Not injection molded, but I have used antimicrobial products in footwear including Ortholite and Agion. From anecdotal evidence I think they work. Shoes don’t get stinky. Ortholite apparently uses some sort of salt based additive to the open cell PU foam.

Also to consider are other natural antimicrobial materials. I think cork is antimicrobial. As is I think merino wool.


Here’s the rub, without evidence of your claim of “would be better than nothing”, it is in fact, not better than nothing.

Without proving your claim, you are selling snake oil.

Shoes probably don’t get stinky, or at at get stinky at a slower rate.

That claim goes to the material. The material won’t get stinky. Getting stinky is a form of degradation.

Shoes get very stinky. Material kills the bugs that makes the stink. Stink is from sweat and body microbes, not materials breaking down.


also if you look at it from a hospital standpoint, If there is say a small layer of dust ontop of the surface the the bacteria is not within direct contact to which the coating is applied then the coating has no effect. Plus the strict wash down procedures will not change due to health code compliance thus the coating is mute. know from a marketing stand point the other week in a airport i went up to a drinking fountain that had a antimicrobial sticker on it and my first thought was hey this is cleaner…

I understand the origin of the stank.

But that stank coming from the material is the claim. The EPA considers that stank as a degradation of the material.

Or do you consider stank as an improvement of the material?

It’s not from pubmed, but I think this article from Clinical Trials Week does a good job refuting that. Titled Health economics assessment of antimicrobial copper for infection control, it includes the following paragraph:

Copper and copper alloy touch surfaces (collectively termed ‘antimicrobial copper’) have been shown to continuously and significantly reduce bioburden by >90 per cent in clinical trials in Chile, the UK and the US. Additionally, the most recently-published data from a US Department of Defense trial conducted in the ICUs of three hospitals shows that the replacement of six near-patient surfaces with antimicrobial copper equivalents was associated with a 58 per cent reduction in HCAIs.

HCAIs being ‘Healthcare Associated Infections’. So in one trial copper surfaces reduced infection in ICU wards by 58%. Seems pretty good to me.

Actually, it is in PubMed, Copper surfaces reduce the rate of healthcare-acquired infections in the intensive care unit - PubMed

Full paper here, Copper Surfaces Reduce the Rate of Healthcare-Acquired Infections in the Intensive Care Unit on JSTOR

While it is non-conclusive, more studies could substantiate a claim of lowering infections. Time will tell but this study does not prove a claim that copper lowers infections.

From the paper-

It was not possible to definitively ascribe lower HAI rates in rooms with copper objects solely to a reduction in burden.