Silver has been used for centuries as an antimicrobial agent.

The Greeks and Romans used it to fight infection and hinder food spoilage before the days of Band-Aids and Sub-Zero refrigerators. Sommers, in collaboration with AgION Technologies, has employed the epic element in its new bacteria-resistant upholstery and wall covering.

Here’s how it works: Silver ions are infused with a ceramic material called zeolite, which acts as a delivery system, and is then applied to the fabric. Translation: The zeolite delivers a continuous release of the silver that battles those pesky bugs, which means less bacteria, mold, and fungus.

The intended and primary application will be in the healthcare industry, but you won’t just see it at the doctor’s office or when visiting grandma at the nursing home. The coating could also be used in the future for things like shoes and other consumer goods. Currently, design heavyweight Herman Miller is interested in AgUARDIAN’s antimicrobial textile as a seating solution, and as an enhancement to their furniture offerings. The material is currently undergoing testing and may be available by late 2006.


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