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FEATURE


‘always on’ technology that works 24/7 to provide protection from bacterial growth for the useful lifespan of the product. This means that surfaces are cleaner and fresher than would otherwise be the case – and remain that way between cleanings – enhancing both durability and serviceable lifetime.


In contrast, 24-hour residual cleaning products deliver an ‘instant kill’ effect, which immediately destroys 99.9% of surface bacteria, as well as creating a protective barrier to provide powerful, continuous antibacterial protection for up to 24 hours. This is a key differentiator compared to other household antibacterial cleaners, which only kill on contact and do not offer any residual protection against subsequent bacterial growth. A further benefit of 24-hour residual cleaning products is the prevention of the growth of mould and mildew for up to seven days on hard surfaces, and 28 days on soſt surfaces.


REGULATORY COMPLIANCE


Built-in antimicrobial agents and 24-hour residual cleaning products must meet a number of regulatory requirements to demonstrate safety and efficacy. Both are registered as pesticides with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and biocides under the European Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), but there are key differences in the registration processes and requirements for each technology.


Built-in antimicrobial technology is governed by the US EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under FIFRA, these types of products are included under ‘treated article exemptions’. These exemptions are specific for qualifying treated articles and substances that make claims to protect the article or substance itself. Antimicrobial articles are intended to protect the item itself, rather than


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people, from microbial growth and degradation. This means that they qualify for exemption when the incorporated pesticide is registered for use in or on the product.


For 24-hour residual cleaning products, the registration process is different, mainly because these types of products make specific claims against disease-causing organisms. Commonly, this will include efficacy claims against human pathogens. Consequently, regulatory bodies have a targeted focus on the review and approval of product labels to ensure that consumers have accurate information on product usage, applications, and specific directions for use. Manufacturers must provide scientific proof of all claims regarding the effectiveness against the specified organisms, supported by extensive sets of data, before the EPA will allow their inclusion on the product label or in associated promotional materials.


SUMMARY


Built-in antimicrobials and residual cleaning pathogens work quite differently, with one perfectly complementing the other to provide the high level of surface cleanliness that is crucial in healthcare and residential care settings. Long-term protection is provided by built-in antimicrobials, which are designed to protect product surfaces from the growth of stain- and odour-causing bacteria, mould and mildew for the lifetime of the treated product. Residual cleaning products deliver an additional level of protection, instantly sanitising or disinfecting surfaces to kill harmful pathogens. The tandem use of these products offers a proactive and harmonised approach to creating cleaner, fresher and more hygienic surfaces.


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