Antimicrobial Device Testing


Microchem Laboratory is the industry leader for antimicrobial device testing.  Microchem Laboratory is experienced in the testing of antimicrobial devices whose function is to disinfect inanimate surfaces in the environment.  Examples of antimicrobial devices include ozone generators, ultraviolet lights, and on-site hypochlorous acid generators.  The test methods used for each device vary, but generally the lab relies on those listed below:

A typical antimicrobial device study begins when the client contacts the laboratory with questions about claim substantiation.  For instance, a UV light manufacturer may want to indicate 99.9% kill on a brochure.  After learning the client's objectives, Microchem proposes a study plan that would substantiate the claim in question, encouraging clients to "start small" with rangefinding tests, then modify test parameters as appropriate to achieve the goal, then conduct the claim substantiation studies.  Throughout the process, Microchem takes the time to listen to clients and understand proper use of the device, even encouraging clients to be on-site for the testing.  The result is consistent customer satisfaction.

Microchem understands the current EPA view on antimicrobial devices and is glad to explain pertinent regulations.  If your company is interested in exploring testing options, please contact the lab.

Antimicrobial device technologies currently being used by industries all over the world include ultraviolet light, floor mops and scrubbers, steam devices, and portable electrostatic sprayers.

At Microchem Laboratory, we have experience testing all of these technologies as well as technologies that are brand new to the device industry.  Each custom study setup is tailored to individual devices to ensure challenging testing parameters that best mimic intended use of the device. 


 Follow the links below to explore our options

Our flexibility, commitment to cost-effectiveness, and well-written study reports make Microchem Laboratory a superb partner for testing antimicrobial devices.  We have the ability to write custom protocols tailored to nearly all custom devices, including protocols for EPA submission.  We work closely with each client from start to finish to ensure their experience is accommodating for all of their testing needs.  We will spend as much time as needed designing a custom test tailored to the device, while keeping deadlines for submission at the forefront of planning.  We will challenge the device in order to generate reliable data that will carryover into real world applications.

At Microchem, our vision is to test your device and learn something from every success and failure. We want to throw everything we can at your device to help find the "upper limit".  Having data of this caliber will give you peace of mind when submitting claims and selling to consumers.

Most importantly, our facility is staffed by antimicrobial testing experts with a great deal of experience.  Notably, the laboratory President and CEO, Dr. Tanner, has published several articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals covering testing done on antimicrobial devices.  In addition, there is a dedicated team at the lab solely responsible for performing custom device testing.  When you send your device to the lab, you can rest assured knowing an experienced member of the custom team will lead the testing.

The staff of Microchem Laboratory has tested a multitude of antimicrobial devices, ranging from cold plasma to ultraviolet light to quaternary ammonium foggers.

Antimicrobial devices have many traits that set them apart from ordinary disinfectants:

  • Virtually no two device models are the same.
  • Different regulations apply to "pesticidal devices."
  • Test methods are not necessarily prescribed by EPA.
  • Custom testing often required to demonstrate efficacy.
  • Dedicated room with size requirements often needed for testing.
  • Contact times required vary widely from seconds to hours.
  • Mode of action ranges from vapor-phase to photon to physical means.

For the reasons outlined above, only special test facilities are well suited to determine the efficacy of antimicrobial devices.  Microchem Laboratory is such a facility, with a history of successful, scientifically defensible studies and satisfied customers.  We have a diverse collection of microorganisms ready and available for testing, and the experience necessary to design and carry out elegant, powerful studies.

If your firm is interested in testing an antimicrobial device for research and development purposes or claim substantiation purposes, simply contact the laboratory using our web contact form to request a price quote. We are well suited to help and would love to learn about your device.

Introduction to Custom Devices

As device technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, both new and existing industries begin to produce new antimicrobial devices that do not fall into one specific category. Most devices are able to be categorized and tested under a broad category specific to the mechanism of the device. However, a small subset of custom devices do not fall into a device category. At the lab, any device that cannot be categorized is tested under a custom device label. We have tested many custom devices ranging from simple ozone generators to industrial scale air purifiers. We have a dedicated room  in the lab strictly for device testing. Because the room is only for device testing, we have the flexibility to set the room up as needed for custom devices. In addition, many custom devices target aerosolized microorganisms and are tested in our state of the art negative pressure aerosol chamber. Visit our aerosol testing page for more information.


Testing Custom Devices

Since custom devices fall into their own category, we work closely with the study sponsor from day one to frame the best testing possible. Before testing begins, a protocol must be built that is tailored to the device and goals of the sponsor. At this stage, we rely on the sponsor's knowledge of the device to help us design a study set up. We often request the sponsor to send the device early to give us time to thoroughly study the device and learn how to use it properly. We want to know the in's and out's of every device before we begin complex testing. Once we form a tentative study plan and have a working knowledge of the device, we will draft a protocol at the study sponsor's request.

If the sponsor is testing for the first time, we often recommend they test under non-GLP conditions with minimum options. We call these "screens", and they are serve to keep cost down but still produce high-quality data. A simple screen is faster than a full scale GLP test and lets the sponsor know if their device is working. If their device is not performing to their standard, they can find and fix flaws and rest easy knowing the study was cost effective. If a sponsor's device perfoms well, they may move from screens to GLP work. Most testing for custom devices follows one of two standard methods: the ASTM E1153 and the ASTM E2315. Protocols are built around these two methods and are customized as needed. We work closely with the sponsor throughout the protocol development process to ensure all parameters of testing are covered. We have many template protocols for devices already built that we customize to fit a sponsor's device.

After a protocol and test parameters are agreed on by all parites, we get right to testing the device. Depending on the complexity of the study and the device, most custom device studies are completed in a matter of days. At the completion of testing, we prepare a thorough study report detailing the whole study complete with pictures from the study. During reporting, we again work closely with the sponsor to ensure all requested data and device information makes it into the final report.


Custom Device Testing Flowchart

 

 


If the custom device requires extensive setup time, we encourage sponsors to visit the lab and teach our microbiologists about their device. If they choose, the sponsor may operate their device during testing. Many sponsors choose this option for initial testing and turn over device operation to the custom team for further testing in the future.


Antimicrobial Devices and the EPA

Please see the EPA information section on our Whole Room Disinfection page for more information on device regulation. Also, visit the EPA's website for more information on FIFRA.