A group of green building experts, architects, and scientists has released a joint statement warning of the potentially harmful effects of antimicrobial chemicals. The Covid-19 pandemic has fueled demand for architectural products—including hardware, countertops, and paint—containing such additives. However, the statement advises that outside of limited studies on the properties of copper, materials containing antimicrobial additives have not been shown to reduce infections in humans. In addition, it cautions that many of these compounds may be harmful to people and the environment. “Unfortunately, the science behind antimicrobials in building products doesn’t live up to the marketing claims,” said Tom Bruton, a senior scientist at the Green Science Policy Institute, one of the signatories. “In fact, these products may be providing a false sense of protection from the novel coronavirus, while posing other health threats.”
The statement urges manufacturers to practice truthful advertising and disclose which compounds their products contain. It also calls for more research into the benefits and hazards of antimicrobial use.