Standardization News

Flexibility is Key Ingredient for Proposed Antimicrobial Textiles Standard

There are all kinds of textiles treated with antimicrobial agents, and a variety of ways in which each can be tested for their performance response to antimicrobial activity. A proposed new ASTM standard, WK31901, Guide for Standard Test Methods and Practices for Evaluating Antibacterial Activity on Textiles, will help tie all of this information together.

"Many of the antimicrobial agents used to treat textiles are very different with regard to how they work and how they should be tested," says ASTM member Robert Monticello, senior scientific consultant, International Antimicrobial Council. "This proposed guide will allow microbiologists the flexibility to develop a specific test standard based on the exact antimicrobial agent used and the exact performance expectations of that treated article."

As an example, Monticello notes that an antimicrobial agent that does not leach the active ingredient into the surrounding area should not be tested using a method designed to measure that specific attribute.

"Exaggerated conditions used to promote bacterial growth that may have been acceptable in the past are not necessarily acceptable with today's active ingredients and end uses," says Monticello. "Investigators need the flexibility in these methods to replicate the end use conditions for each specific product."

According to Monticello, the proposed guide will alleviate confusion by instructing test facilities on the modifications that are common in the industry for each method.

Primary users of WK31901 will be microbiological testing laboratories, antimicrobial suppliers, textile brands and retailers.

WK31901 is being developed by Subcommittee E35.15 on Antimicrobial Agents, part of ASTM International Committee E35 on Pesticides, Antimicrobials and Alternative Control Agents. All interested parties are encouraged to join E35 in its standards development activities.

CONTACT Technical Information: Robert A. Monticello, Ph.D., International Antimicrobial Council • Midland, Mich. • tel +1.989.615.0031 | ASTM Staff: Jennifer Rodgers • Phone: 610-832-9694 | Upcoming Meeting: April 27-30 • April Committee Week • Anaheim, Calif.

Issue Month: 
Issue Year: