As the cruise industry resumes and endeavours to attract more passengers, Finnish engineering company Evac has introduced new antimicrobial materials for toilet seats and push buttons.
“This is a sustainable solution, which reduces the source of the infection on toilet visits,” explained Lauri Aalto, Evac’s Product Line Manager who has been heading up the project.
“We’ve focused on two key areas, the toilet seat/cover and the push button, which are the contact points for the user. These will be made from a new antimicrobial material, which looks and feels like normal, but is completely impregnated and goes on giving protection”, he added.
He also explained that the objective was to produce something sustainable, long lasting in its efficacy and avoided the need for additional chemical sprays.
It will be available as standard on all Evac Optima 5 and Optima 5S vacuum toilets from January, next year.
Retrofit can be undertaken on existing vessels, either as seat/covers and push buttons within cabins, or for high-traffic areas, such as public toilets. In addition, there is an autoflush option, which gives a touch-free operation and features the same antimicrobial material in case there is any physical contact.
The higher level of protection is provided by seat/covers and push buttons made from UF and ASA plastic impregnated with a FDA approved silver compound.
Silver ions are the active ingredient that interacts with the bacteria, rendering them incapable of reproduction. Growth of bacteria is particularly rapid on all types of plastic materials not treated with the antimicrobial product. The UF plastic provides the additional bonus of stronger toilet seat material, protecting against scratches, which can harbour microbes, the company said.
Silver use as a natural purifier is well established and understood. Evac has carried out tests on the most common bacteria which cause stomach sickness and found the new antimicrobial material produces a reduction up to 99.99%.
“In one sense it’s a toilet that cleans itself and we believe it’s important in a number of ways. It makes it easier for owners to show they are taking clear actions to improve passenger safety. From the passengers’ perspective, there is extra peace of mind, because the benefits are easy to understand,” Aalto said.
“Hygiene is an area where we would like to extend our technological lead, both in toilet design and materials. Currently, I believe that we are the front runner and I hope the cruise industry can convey these benefits to create greater confidence amongst passengers,” he concluded.