BOSTON, MA — Microorgan-isms such as mold, mildew, fungus, and bacteria might have a tough time surviving in refrigeration systems and possibly hvac components of all types if a silver-based, antimicrobial agent from Health-Shield Technologies, headquartered here, lives up to its promise. The company’s antimicrobial, Agion™, will be incorporated into more than 13 types of wire and steel shelving products including refrigerator shelving, dividers, icemaker panels, and decorative trims made by SSW Holding Co., Fort Smith, AR. SSW and HealthShield (soon to be renamed Agion Technolo-gies, LLC) announced a business development agreement late last month. SSW, one of the nation’s largest makers of steel and wire products, serves appliance industry market segments including commercial refrigeration, hvac, and residential cooking and refrigeration.

Wide-Ranging Applications

“Our product, Agion, is being incorporated into a wide range of applications ranging from air conditioning and refrigeration components to medical devices,” stated Jon Katz, president of the Health-Shield Technology Development Center and executive vice president of HealthShield Technologies, LLC. “It is now a feature of Honeywell humidifiers, which carry the HealthShield/Agion logos.”

Katz foresees use of the silver-based antimicrobial Agion in automotive, home, and commercial heating and air conditioning systems. It can also be used in ductwork, coils, and drain or condensate pans, effectively ending the growth of mold, mildew, fungus, and bacteria, as well as the odors these organisms generate.

HealthShield recently announ-ced agreements with such companies as DuPont for toothbrushes; Foss Manufacturing, a leading fabric company, for synthetic fibers and nonwoven fabrics; Smith & Nephew, a global medical devices company, for wound care; and AK Steel for industrial-commercial steel products.

Agion antimicrobial can be applied as a powder coating to metal surfaces as well as to glass products, including shelving. Agion antimicrobial “will function as long as the base product will last,” according to Katz.

He noted that other applications from various manufacturers already incorporate Agion antimicrobial in products as diverse as athletic shoe liners, medical devices, wound dressings, and structural steel.

HealthShield’s antimicrobial combines a compound of silver with a “naturally occurring cer-amic material,” according to the company’s website.

Agion is registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an antimicrobial additive to be incorporated into many materials to impart antimicrobial activity to the manufactured products, the company reports. Through the company’s Upgrade Division, the coating can also be applied to existing products.

Sidebar: Silver-Based Antimicrobial for Sealants and Adhesives

LONDON, England — Johnson Matthey PLC, a multinational precious metals company, and Microbial Systems International Ltd., have introduced JMAC, “an innovative technology for preservation.” The JMAC technology is “based on a patented inorganic composite which provides on demand antimicrobial silver ions into aqueous systems,” according to company sources.

That firm says JMAC preservatives are applicable in cosmetics, toiletries, adhesives, sealants, and specialist paints, among other products. “It is also suitable for powder products, in plastics, and as a novel active ingredient.”

Using silver to fight harmful microorganisms is a technique that is 2,000 or more years old, according to both HealthShield and Johnson Matthey. HealthShield notes that ancient Egyptians lined water vessels with silver to keep the contents pure.