Understanding Biocidal Copper and Silver and Article 95

There are a number of companies selling elemental silver (EC No. 231-131-3, CAS No. 7440-22-4) as part of copper and silver ionisation systems for controlling Legionella and other bacteria in water systems that are not on the Article 95 list for elemental silver. At present, these ionisation companies would need to purchase their elemental silver in the correct Product Type (PT) from members of the silver task force that are on the Article 95 list, or from a company in a supply chain with members of the silver task force that are on the Article 95 list.

There are only 2 companies, other than ProEconomy, that are on the Article 95 list for elemental silver under PT 2 (uses include bathing water, air-conditioning systems, and water distribution systems) and PT 5 (drinking water).

Once elemental silver is approved as an active substance under the BPR, the need to comply with the product authorisation rules of the BPR arise. One effect of these rules is that a company supplying elemental silver as a biocidal product would need to demonstrate that its source of elemental silver is technically equivalent to the sources of elemental silver approved under the BPR. At the moment, there is only ProEconomy and one other company whose elemental silver is being reviewed under the BPR.

The majority of the ionisation systems used in the UK are installed within healthcare premises and therefore are paid by the taxpayer. ProEconomy are concerned about the financial implications associated with paying for non-compliant ionisation systems that will have to be shortly removed. ProEconomy would like to make the UK healthcare industry aware of this compliance situation as non-compliant ionisation companies may not be keeping their customers apprised.

ProEconomy are also concerned about the rising cost of elemental silver as a biocide which may fluctuate over time. ProEconomy has not increased the price of its elemental silver and guarantees the stability of its elemental silver price.

We hope that non-compliant ionisation companies have made their potential clients aware of the instability of their elemental silver price and the potential removal of their silver ionisation products from the market when the product authorisation obligations arise, as mentioned above.  

Written by Byron Bedford

Director of ProEconomy 

For more information please get in touch with me on 01525 854111 or at byron@proeconomy.com

September 27, 2009

‘Freedom at last’! The government concedes to ProEconomy’s solution

ProEconomy’s battle against the government’s degenerate stance on Legionella control has finally come to a successful conclusion. ProEconomy were appalled when the government referred to the inefficient temperature control regime as ‘preferred’ in their HTM04 document.

ProEconomy were baffled and concerned by the government’s support for the temperature control regime, since it is a proven ineffective regime for controlling Legionella and costs the NHS substantially, financially and in terms of carbon footprint. A US report from the University of Pittsburgh stated that ‘contamination with Legionella will often recur within months of using temperature control’ and that it ‘is tedious and labour intensive to maintain’.

ProEconomy took their concerns directly to the Department of Health. They asked them to produce the scientific evidence that had supported their decision to ‘prefer’ the temperature control regime. However, after three unsuccessful requests to retrieve this evidence, ProEconomy had to resort to citing the Freedom of Information act. After almost 2 months, the Department of Health finally revealed its evidence. Of the 31 scientific papers that were produced, none supported the temperature control regime, 21 did not mention the temperature control regime, 3 were actually against it and 7 were in favour of the copper and silver ionisation, that is used by ProEconomy.

In May 2008 ProEconomy forced the issue in the House of Commons again and finally reached a successful conclusion. They were delighted when the Department of Health stipulated that they did not prefer one method of water treatment over another, just that they viewed the temperature control regime to be the traditional system. In fact the Department of Health did not understand why ProEconomy had been so worried, since the word ‘preferred’ had only been written in the introduction and had no relevance to the actual HTM04 guidelines. The Department of Health made it clear that they were happy as long a recognised form of Legionella control, such as copper and silver ionisation, was being used.

It may seem to many, especially in the Department of Health, that ProEconomy were ‘making a mountain out of a mole hill’. Perhaps this is true. But it does go to show how conscientious ProEconomy are, especially since they were the only copper and silver ionisation company to challenge the government on this issue.

ProEconomy have now been asked by the Department of Health to contribute to amendments to the HTM04.

January 2009


September 27, 2009

Be aware of the EU Biocidal Product Directive

ProEconomy is one of only two companies that produce copper and silver ionisation systems that are members of the European Biocidal Product Directive task force.

Why should you be aware of this Directive?

Because ProEconomy has spent over £200000 and 5 years of research on conforming to this Directive so far, once they are granted listings in the Directive for copper and silver, then their competitors will need to get a letter of access from them in order to continue trading.

‘If inclusion in Annex 1 is not possible then products containing that active substance (copper and silver) can no longer be placed on the EU market’.

ProEconomy should have been given listings by 2013.

Be aware that you could buy a system today and that product may then violate the Directive and must therefore be removed from the EU market from 2013 onwards.

You can find out further information at http://www.hse.gov.uk/biocides/faq.htm

January 2009


September 27, 2009

Bill Frindall died in January 2009 from legionnaires disease

Bill was the scorer for Test Match Special on BBC Radio. He was nicknamed ‘The Bearded Wonder’ for his lustrous facial hair and encyclopedic knowledge of cricket facts. He was aged 69.

January 2009


September 26, 2009

Three babies die after contracting Legionnaires

Eleven infants born between December 18 and 22 at a private hospital in Cyprus contracted Legionnaires' disease.

The babies were discharged from the private hospital in good condition but then admitted to the intensive care unit of another hospital between December 25 and 29 because of Legionnaires' symptoms.

Three of the children have died.

As of January 20th 2009, one of the babies was still in the hospital, not yet able to breath on its own. The other seven have been treated and released.

Reports indicate that portable ultrasonic humidifiers were the source.

The maternity ward and nursery were closed on December 29th 2009, immediately following laboratory confirmation of the first cases.

Sources: news media and Eurosurveillance

January 2009


September 26, 2009

Legionnaires' disease cases increase fivefold in Japan

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases reported this month that reported Legionella infections have increased almost fivefold in Japan over the past five years.

The researchers speculated that the rise was due to increased use of public whirlpool spas and hot springs.

Source: The Mainichi Daily News