PFM 20 8 - Page 27

So what can the facilities manager do
about it? Beyond equipping washrooms
and maintaining them to a high standard
– so as to encourage users to wash and
dry their hands – they hold little sway
over people’s behaviour.
Clean toilets well stocked with fragrant,
anti-bacterial soap and sufficient handdryers or towels remove some of the
excuses people may make for failing to
do the responsible thing. A sign
reminding patrons to ‘wash your hands’
might nudge a few who would otherwise
skip to the exit. Hand sanitisers – a
common response to infectious
outbreaks, and at entrances to hospital
wards – also rely on public co-operation.
Public education and the occasional
shock-horror media report – such as the
finding that ‘more than one in four
Britons had faecal matter on their hands’
– may raise awareness, and hand
hygiene practice.
But managers responsible for toilets and
washrooms – and building hygiene
generally – have had few weapons to
combat the spread by touch of infectious
microbes. Until recently, that is, as
technology has now come to their aid.
Fortunately, for budget-holders trying to
keep a grip on cleaning costs, this
development is not a hi-tech piece of
equipment with a price to match.
Although advanced, it is a material that
exploits silver ion technology to provide
a highly effective anti-bacterial cover for
common touch points.
Silver has, as well as its enduring value
as a precious metal, other prized
properties. For many years, it has been
used in many applications – from
chemical production to photography –
but its role in medicine goes back
thousands of years. In various forms,
silver has been used to dress wounds,
in eye drops, dentistry, and treatment of
burns, curing and preventing infection.
Small amounts of silver contained in the
coatings of medical instruments can
combat the spread of pathogens. The
rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs will
only serve to increase its value again in
Silver’s anti-bacterial action stems from
the effect of ions. In an ionic state – i.e.,
when atoms of silver lack one or more
electrons – these atoms act as a
catalyst, penetrating the cell membrane
of microbes and absorbing oxygen. This
destroys the pathogen and its DNA, so
cells cannot reproduce.
Because the coating material uses ions
rather than silver particles, it can exploit
the precious metal’s anti-bacterial
with around 85 employees. These
compared the level of contamination of
standard stainless steel pull door
handles with Purehold anti-bacterial
covers. Three high-use doors were
chosen: male and female toilets and the
staff canteen.
In each case the handles were
disinfected and then – after seven days
to allow bacteria to build up – two swabs
were taken from the upper and lower
areas of the handles. Again, the
difference was dramatic. Overall, the
Purehold covered handles proved to be
96.4% cleaner, on average, than the
uncovered stainless steel handles.
The Purehold silver ion coating is
currently available in two products – the
P-Hold cover for standard D-handles,
and the P-Plate, which attaches to push
They are simple to install, requiring no
special tools or experience. P-Hold
snaps into place around the cylindrical
handle, so it can be fitted in 30 seconds.
P-Plate is secured magnetically to
standard, metal push plates.
These covers are robust and their silver
ion coatings do not require special
maintenance, or proprietary sprays or
solutions. Just a normal cleaning regime
is recommended.
Not only is the technology low-cost and
low-maintenance, the Purehold material
continues to protect human hands from
contamination long after installation. The
P-Hold is effective for six months, while
the P-Plate carries on destroying
pathogens for a full 12 months.
Each product has a visual indicator so
staff know when they should be
Aesthetically unobtrusive, the P-Hold
comes in a metallic ice blue or black
finish, and has a pleasing grip. The
sturdy P-plate, which has a silver finish,
also bears the Purehold name, plus the
message ‘Killing germs 24/7’.
Their long-lasting benefits – in avoiding
staff sickness and enhanced infection
control – will outweigh the low initial and
replacement cost of the covers. Facility
managers will also enjoy peace of mind
from knowing they are doing everything
they can to protect people from one of
the most insidious sources of infection.
Washroom users, meanwhile, can be
spared that awful exit door dilemma.
capability in a highly practical and costeffective form.
The other beauty of silver in this
application is that it’s non-toxic and
entirely harmless for humans, or indeed,
plants and animals. It is also longlasting. A silver ion coating will continue
to eliminate a broad spectrum of
pathogens for months, including
bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Anyone responsible for managing
buildings, hygiene and infection control
can now take advantage of this silver ion
technology, which is also being exploited
by manufacturers of washing machines
and refrigerators.
Newly patented and manufactured here
in the UK, Purehold anti-bacterial covers
have been proven to be highly effective
at reducing the microbial count on door
handles and push plates. We have
independent laboratory tests and trials.
The lab tests were performed to the
international standard. They measured
the effect of the silver ion coating on
three types of bacterium. The results
were dramatic. The Purehold cover was
shown to eradicate 99.99% of both the
E-coli colony and Staph Aureus bacteria.
For the third, Salmonella, the kill rate
was 98.64%.
In the field, Purehold’s performance was
also impressive. We commissioned
analytical testing specialists Wickham
Laboratories to assess its impact in a
busy office environment and establish
how this invisible technology performed
in the ‘real’ world. With the help of a Reader Reply: 208002
specialist analytical testing laboratory,
two trials were carried out in a building


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