Paint maker Sherwin-Williams is introducing a microbicidal paint that slays infection-causing bacteria. The firm reports that this is the first microbicidal paint to be registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Sherwin-Williams developed the interior latex paint in conjunction with scientists and microbiologists specializing in coatings at the paint maker’s Cleveland headquarters. The paint is designed to “kill greater than 99.9% of staph, MRSA, e.coli, VRE, and enterobacter aerogenes after 2 hours of exposure. It also inhibits the growth of common microbes.”
Paint Shield is packed with quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats”. Their positive charge attaches well to microorganisms and dissolves the bacteria’s cell walls. According to the paint’s pesticide registration notice with the EPA, dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride is an active ingredient. This can also be found in consumer and industrial products like spray disinfectants, mouthwashes, and cleaners.
Steve Revnew, senior vice-president of product innovation for Sherwin Williams, said that Paint Shield is different from other paint products in the market claiming to be anti-bacterial because it actually kills bacteria on the surface instead of simply preventing the organisms from corroding the paint. Sherwin-Williams CEO Chris Connor, in a statement, called Paint Shield as “one of the most significant technological breakthroughs in our nearly 150-year history of innovation.”
Although homeowners would likely benefit from using the paint for their homes, Paint Shield is designed for more industrial applications in hospitals, athletic facilities, gym building, senior communities, schools and cruise ships. Tests protocols done with the EPA revealed that the paint’s bacteria-killing ability can last up to 4 years, provided that the surface integrity is preserved.
A study in 2014 found that 1 in 25 patients acquire an infection during their stay in a hospital. The most common types were pneumonia, surgical-site infections, and gastrointestinal infections. Infections in healthcare settings are viewed as one of the top causes of avoidable deaths. The paint might not mean instant for microbes because of that 2-hour window, but Sherwin-Williams hopes that it will play a role in reducing hospital-acquired infections.
Paint Shield is expected to be launched in Sherwin-Williams’ 4,000 U.S. stores within the first quarter of 2016.
Other Ingenious Anti-Microbial Products
Paint Shield is far from being the only product in the battle against bacteria. Corning came out earlier this year with an antimicrobial version of Gorilla glass. The product is designed for ATM machines, which is the kind of surface that can become quite infested with bacteria during flu season.
Two high-school students from Hongkong also recently presented a project involving a door handle. This glowing door handle is invented specifically for public bathrooms. It rids itself of germs using inexpensive materials.