New Paints for a Healthier Building

July 25, 2008

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As buildings become more efficiently sealed against outside airflow, they open themselves up to another concern: mold and mildew infestation. Tightly sealed buildings tend to retain more moisture inside, which can provide a boost for the growth of molds and mildew. Anti-fungal paints can be combined with cleaning practices to reduce the incidence of mold and help maintain a decent interior air quality.

The active ingredient 3-iodpropinyl-N-butylcarbamate (IPBC) is an industry standard anti-fungal additive to paint which prevents mold growth and inhibits the spread of mildew. Paints using this additive are often applied in hospitals and food processing plants, where they complement existing cleaning procedures.

Although effective anti-fungal paints are well represented in the industrial painting world, anti-microbial paints are getting more attention from manufacturers and facility directors. The goal is a dry film anti-microbial coating that is safe for use and retains its special qualities for a reasonably long life cycle.

One manufacturer, the Troy Corporation, has had success transforming the antibacterial substance 1,2-benzisothiazolin-3-one into a slow release form, which allows it to provide a constant level of protection against microorganisms over the lifetime of the paint.

Two additives, one based on silver, and the other based on zinc, are also being looked at with great interest by paint manufacturers to provide antibacterial capability for sensitive locations, such as hospitals, day care centers and assisted living homes. Silver, although effective as an anti-bacterial paint additive, has the disadvantage of being quite expensive.

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