Countertop surface for hospitals is designed to kill germs
- April 27, 2012
A Portsmouth-based company is unveiling a product that could change the way hospitals and other health-care facilities deal with infections.
EOS Surfaces LLC is marketing a solid countertop surface that is infused with copper oxide, long known for its antimicrobial powers. It kills germs that come in contact with it, which could make a big difference in controlling the spread of hospital-acquired infections, says Ken Trinder, the company’s president and largest shareholder. “We are creating a brand-new market here with a new technology,” he says. “So what we are selling doesn’t exist anywhere.”
The surface has been tested in several settings, including at a hospital group with locations in Virginia that Trinder declined to name. In late March, Trinder says, the company got word from the Environmental Protection Agency that its product passed “stringent” testing that is required before the company can make certain claims about the efficacy of its product. Thousands of samples were tested over three weeks and EOS surfaces showed a 99.9 percent effectiveness in killing organisms. “No other material, with the exception of raw copper, has been able to pass this level of testing,” he says.
The technology that EOS depends on is being marketed by another Virginia company, Richmond-based Cupron, a privately held company founded in 2000. The discovery behind the company’s products comes from an Israeli scientist, Jeffrey Gabbay, who discovered a way to incorporate copper oxides into polymers. Trinder says he and Paul Rocheleau, chairman of the board for Cupron, started talking two years ago about using the Cupron product in countertops.
Cupron is already selling its technology in other products, such as anti-odor footwear and soft material such as hand towels and pillowcases. Rocheleau is confident that Cupron’s antimicrobial materials will work in hospital linens, clothing and surfaces common in any health-care setting. “We think we can create products that can have a fundamental benefit to society,” he says.