S25: Marketing challenges and consumer perceptions regarding antimicrobial treated materials; Regulatory aspects and realistic expectations

Tuesday, October 30, 2012: 1:30 PM
Daniel Price1, Brandi Prestridge1 and Donald G. Ahearn2, (1)Microbiology, Interface Research Corporation, Lagrange, GA, (2)Biology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
The use and demand for antimicrobial preserved materials continues to gain prominence in today’s high-end market.  The 2008 biocide market was estimated to be $6.4 billion.   Consumers rarely consider incorporated chemistries to protect products until there is a failure of said chemistry that results in the spoilage, staining, or deterioration of the product.  However, antimicrobial marketing strategies and the presence of hang tags extoling the presence of an antimicrobial in or on the product has led some users to assume there is a health benefit associated with its presence.

Recently the US Green Building Council has adopted a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system for health care facilities.    In this this rating system certain credits are given for items like amount of post industrial or post consumer recycled materials and use of green renewable energy.   Also among these credits is a “chemical avoidance credit” that includes the use of antimicrobials.  

This presentation will review current regulatory criteria for legal claims regarding antimicrobial treated materials.  Another objective is to discuss recent negative positions taken by the “green movement” in response to perceived marketing claims for antimicrobial preservatives.   What events and unrealistic expectations have led to this situation and how responsible marketing can help clarify the value and necessity of antimicrobial preservatives.