From The American Association Of Clinical Chemistry’s 08 Annual Meeting
Clifton Broumand, The Big Cheese of Man & Machine, Inc. and manufacturer of hygienic medical keyboards and mice addresses the AACC about his resistance to using microbe resistant coatings and additives.
At a time when infection control is desperately needed to curtail the fatalities and expense of hospital-acquired infections, why would Mr. Broumand avoid using microbe killers like nanosilver and Microban on and in his medical keyboards? “Manufacturers jumping on the antibacterial bandwagon aren’t taking a long-view approach by employing coatings with nanomaterials and pesticides that might have detrimental environmental consequences,” says Broumand.
Indeed, nanotechnology has not long been under the microscope. Nano particles of silver such as AGion are valued for their ability to keep bacteria at bay. Nanosilver is used in socks, bandages, back support pillows, and hundreds of items that come into direct contact with the human body. Microban, also known as Triclosan, is used in plastics, clothing, dishwashing liquid, cosmetics, lotions, toothpastes and a host of items that are actually ingested. The public embraces these antibacterial agents as healthy, protective additives. But what are the risks? What happens when the coatings wear off, break down and are leeched into the environment? Or, enter into the bloodstream?
According to the Nanotechnology International Forum Nano Werk, silver nanoparticles have the potential to cause health and ecotoxicity issues in a concentration-dependent manner. Science Daily reports that silver nanoparticles are toxic and may be killing beneficial bacteria in our wastewater treatment systems.
Microban is a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. It is registered as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency. Long-term and repeated exposure to pesticides can damage the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs and cause paralysis, sterility, hormonal disruption and immune suppression. The EPA considers Microban a high risk for human health and the environment.
“Man & Machine actively chooses not to use anti-bacterial additives.” Broumand states. “Since we don’t know what threats these nanomaterials and low level pesticides pose in the long run, why go there when we can be hygienic by design?” In fact, his non-porous rubber Cool keyboards have no cracks, crevices or seams in which bacteria can hide and grow. The durable keyboards can be submerged, disinfected, washed or wiped clean in seconds. Man & Machine minimizes the use of chemicals in order to minimize their potential harmful effects. “By limiting the use of antimicrobials,” The Big Cheese adds, “we also limit bacteria’s ability to adapt to methods of disinfection. We outsmart them. That’s our specialty.”
Man & Machine’s Medical Grade keyboards
Man & Machine Inc., established in 1982, is an international innovator and manufacturer of computer accessories designed to limit the spread of harmful microbes and infections in health care environments. Since the introduction of the first MMI designed water-resistant keyboard in 2002, the company has been leading the industry in manufacturing ergonomic, high quality and fairly priced keyboards and mice. MMI has offices in Maryland, The Netherlands and Shenzhen, China.