G07 - Antimicrobials in Building Materials and Furnishings

Friday, November 10 from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM | 257AB « Back

Abstract Text:

The use of antimicrobials in building products and furnishings has grown dramatically in the last decade, largely on the basis of untested and unsubstantiated marketing claims. Their use in a myriad of consumer products is also increasing. Fueled by consumer interest, the inclusion of an antimicrobial additive has become a differentiator in the marketplace. The urgent public health threat of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), public tracking of HAIs, and recent changes to Medicare and provisions under the Affordable Care Act around reimbursal for HAIs have added to the rush to use antimicrobials. Yet there is a lot of confusion about antimicrobials in products because of a lack of disclosure on antimicrobial ingredients, their specific identity, the purpose they serve in the product, and the potential health and environmental hazards they pose. These uses collectively add to the potential for general population and environmental exposures without adequate data on safety and efficacy. Potential unintended consequences, including increased risk of antibiotic resistance, have not been fully explored. Two new papers shed light on the use of antimicrobials in furnishings and building products and include recommendations for further action.

Learning Objectives:

Understand the health and environmental concerns associated with antimicrobial use in furnishings and building products and analyze gaps in knowledge related to their safety, efficacy, and performance.

Describe some current uses of antimicrobials in various settings, including health care, and understand data and information gaps, including as they relate to marketing claims.

Describe the opportunities for making purchasing decisions based on the current evidence of safety, effectiveness, and cost of antimicrobials in furnishings and building products.

Understand the importance of a systems approach in disease prevention and the role that antimicrobials in furnishings and buildings may play.

Learning Level:

Level 200 – Understanding/Comprehension


GBCI Credit Hours:
AIA Credit Hours:
IDCEC hours:

Event Type: Education Sessions > Session