Why is our cork flooring 100% biocide-free?
As an eco-responsible company, our cork flooring partner, Amorim Cork Flooring, has a no-use policy for biocides that is in complete alignment with European directives and WHO recommendations. Cork flooring grants health benefits that few other floors can provide as it is a natural raw material, with such unique characteristics that no other manufactured material can match it. Among cork’s incredible properties is the fact that the material is hypoallergenic: it actually helps to protect you from allergies and does not represent a danger to asthma sufferers, as it does not absorb dust. In addition, Amorim Cork Flooring products are very easy to clean thanks to their high quality surface finishes. The use of Amorim Cork Flooring products in hospitals and health care facilities has the added benefit of being a hypoallergenic material that does not accumulate germs and significantly improves indoor air quality. A regular clean using a vacuum cleaner of mop is all that it takes to contribute to a safe and healthy environment.
The Negative Effects of Biocides
Over the past years, we have witnessed a change in the arguments for and against the use of biocides in flooring. In the past, some manufacturers believed that the use of silver-based additives in their products could slow the growth of bacteria. However, recent studies have proven that the use of these products not only triggers the antimicrobial resistance to these additives, but that it can also have a negative effect on people’s health. Indeed the overuse of biocides can speed up antimicrobial resistance as increased exposure leads to faster genetic mutation of the bacteria, and consequently a faster build-up of the resistance mechanism. Additionally, biocides are often toxic for humans and for the environment – silver ions can even induce cell & DNA damage. The World Health Organization has identified antimicrobial resistance as a major risk for human life, explaining that:
“Antimicrobial resistance happens when micro-organisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics). Micro-organisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”. As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others. Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes. However, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is accelerating this process”
In accordance with WHO recommendations a flooring without biocides is always the healthier option, especially during the present pandemic, as a way to ensure that not only hospital environments but also our own homes and workplaces are protected from these infections.
The use of biocides in flooring first appeared in response to an increase in nosocomial infections (hospital-acquired infections). However, as scientists studied the subject in greater detail, they concluded that only two bacteria found on hospital floors matched the most common hospital-acquired infections. Floor coverings were therefore considered as a minor, if not negligible source, and are identified as non-critical environmental surfaces. For this reason, it is not advisable to use biocides in a flooring; instead, a good cleaning regime will more effectively eliminate these bacteria without the risk of harming human health.
Amorim Cork Flooring recommends an efficient daily cleaning routine to ensure a healthy environment and guarantees that its products are 100% biocide-free.