With the outbreak of the Worldwide Coronavirus (HC-19) pandemic people are becoming a lot more aware of the role that personal hygiene has in preventing them from catching this potentially deadly disease.
They are using a lot more products such as hand antibacterial sanitizer but what about antibacterial pens? These have been around for a few years now but what exactly are they? and should you have one?
You are probably reading this blog in response to the question Do Antibacterial Pens Protect Against Catching Flu & the Coronavirus? The short answer is yes against flu with a few caveats and not currently against the Coronavirus but we will go into more detail about this a bit later in this article. We will also explain how antibacterial pens work and which bacteria they offer protection against.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is an Antibacterial Pen?
- 2 How do Antibacterial Pens Work
- 3 Which Bacteria Do Antibacterial Pens offer Protection Against?
- 4 Do Antibacterial Pens Protect Against Flu Viruses?
- 5 Do Antibacterial Pens Protect Against the Coronavirus?
- 6 AntibacterialPpens
- 7 Skilcraft EconoGard Antimicrobial Pen
- 8 Iprotect Antibacterial Pen
What is an Antibacterial Pen?
Some forms of bacteria are particularly resilient and can survive on many different surfaces for weeks. These can include worktops, door handles and yes you guessed it even pens. An antibacterial pen suppresses the growth and survival of bacteria on its surface. Thus preventing contamination been passed on from person to person.
Antibacterial Pens are commonplace in the food manufacturing industry but they are also ideal for use in places where there is a higher risk of cross-infection.
At the moment places such as care homes, doctors’ offices, kitchens, hospitals, and reception areas don’t tend to have them as they use cheap stick pens or printed promotional pens. But there is a case that there may be some benefit if they were to switch to antibacterial pens.
How do Antibacterial Pens Work
In a nutshell, antibacterial pens have a substance added to them during the manufacturing process which inhibits the growth of bacteria. There are three main companies that make these additives, and each has a slightly different explanation of achieving this.
It is worth noting that although the pens are usually called antibacterial pens there are two different technologies involved in the manufacture of these pens.
Antibacterial Technology – This type of technology is effective against bacteria
Antimicrobial Technology -This is effective against not only bacteria but a wide spectrum of microbes including mold, fungi and even viruses.
Biocote Antimicrobial Technology
Biocote is one of the market leaders in antimicrobial technology and has been making additives for antibacterial products for 20 years.
They state that “Introduced during the manufacturing process, our antimicrobial additives exert, by either chemical or mechanical means, a negative effect on any contaminating microbes causing them to die.” This is achieved by protein damage, cell membrane damage, Oxidative damage, and DNA interference.
SteriTouch Antimicrobial Technology
SteriTouch is a UK based company providing antimicrobial technology they state that “Active antimicrobial components embedded in the material substrate are released via ambient moisture and enter the cell membrane. The technology destabilizes the cell, stop respiration and inhibit cell division, whilst blocking the replication of DNA, killing the cell.”
Stilolinea Antibacterial Pens:
Stilolinea is an Italian pen manufacturer who makes Iprotect antibacterial pens they do not use antimicrobial technology so their pens are only effective against bacteria. They state that their pens are treated with a new patented static bacteriological technology based on Zinc ions which creates a hostile environment for bacterial proliferation.
Sciessent Agion Antimicrobial Technology
Siessent is a U.S. based company that uses Agion Antimicrobial Technology they state that Leveraging copper and silver antimicrobial technology, Agion is designed to automatically release its antimicrobial components ONLY when conditions for bacteria growth are present. This capability results in the longest-lasting protection against microbes.
Which Bacteria Do Antibacterial Pens offer Protection Against?
Being exposed to certain types of bacteria can actually be a good thing as it helps to build a healthy immune system. Antibacterial pens can offer protection against some of the nastier bacterial infections such as MRSA, E. coli and Listeria.
BioCote® Antibacterial Technology will offer lasting protection from bacteria, including superbugs such as MRSA and E.coli.
SteriTouch additives to be effective against a huge range of bacteria including Salmonella, VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus), CPE (Carbapenemase Producing Enterobacteriaceae) and Legionella.
Do Antibacterial Pens Protect Against Flu Viruses?
If a pen is purely an antibacterial pen then it will offer no protection against viruses. If it is manufactured with antimicrobial technology, then it may offer some protection against influenzas and avian flu. I did say earlier there is a caveat.
From the BioCote website “BioCote® Antiviral Technology makes a product effective against viruses, such as the prevalent H1N1 influenza virus.”
However, SteriTouch offers this advice on their website.
“Several of the active substances we use have been successfully tested against other enveloped viruses, such as Influenza, Avian flu, and SARS.
An anti-virus test certificate for ‘ABS’ or ‘Polycarbonate’ should be considered irrelevant unless the testing was carried out in your specific grade of ABS or your specific grade of polycarbonate.”
Do Antibacterial Pens Protect Against the Coronavirus?:
Antimicrobial technology has proven to provide protection of cross-contamination across surfaces against the flu virus. The technology may provide some resistance to the Coronavirus but this has not been tested and scientifically proven so the answer has to be no it can’t.
Biocote go into a lot more detail in their blog post, BioCote® technology and its efficacy against Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Also, Steritouch have given a detailed explanation in Coronavirus The SteriTouch Stance
The advice at the time of writing this article is to:
wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
always wash your hands when you get home or into work
use hand sanitizer gel if soap and water are not available
As we have already discussed that there are two types of technology in the manufacture of antibacterial technology – protects against bacteria and antimicrobial technology which protects against bacteria also mold, fungi, and even viruses. So when choosing an antibacterial pen it is worth bearing this in mind.
Skilcraft EconoGard Antimicrobial Pen:
Skilcraft pens for those who don’t know are manufactured by blind and disabled workers employed by non-profit agencies to produce all sorts of products for the U.S. government.
The EconoGard is a retractable antimicrobial pen that has had its surface treated with has been treated with Agion Antimicrobial Technology. This prevents the growth of bacteria on the surface of the pen. Agion Antimicrobial Technology is EPA registered and recognized by the FDA
Note these pens are only available on Amazon to customers in the U.S.
Iprotect Antibacterial Pen
The Iprotect retractable antibacterial pen uses Zinc Ion technology and guarantees 99% protection against bacteria including MRSA E-coli C-diff. This has been certified by the Advanced Laboratory for Analysis Research and Nanotechnology Chemical Center Srl in Bologna. It has a permanent efficacy (24h/7d) against bacteria because the additive is molded in the plastic itself.