FORT LEE, N.J.—Even before COVID-19 there was an “ick” factor when it came to touching public door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, and other high-touch areas. Today? These areas are of course of much greater concern.
Back in 2018, Zeynep “Z” Ekemen, one of the inventers and current Managing Partner of Silver Defender, recognized the need for some type of antimicrobial protection on high-touch areas. “We wanted to create the next Purell,” she says. Ekemen and her colleagues developed chemical-free Silver Defender antimicrobial protected film that can be applied to any high-touch surface. Silver Defender’s technology is activated by light, air pressure and touch. The film contains silver ions that offer protection from bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungi.
“Silver and copper have been used for centuries for anti-microbial purposes,” Ekemen says. “Silver ions are embedded in the plastic. It is always ‘on’. Nothing can survive on the film.”
Ekemen says that while there are companies offering similar films that make claims about COVID-19 protection, her company is the only one that has applied to have its film EPA pest registered. She expects to obtain EPA approval within the next four months.
Launch Was Just in Time
Silver Defender officially launched in January 2020. “The demand went from zero to 100 overnight,” Ekemen says. “Our product is now on door handles around the world.” The World Trade Center buildings and Rose Bowl stadium are two prominent locations where the film can be found. “Some hotel groups are already using it,” Ekemen adds.
Silver Defender manufactures films and tapes of various sizes and designs, with hidden perforations that make it easy to apply. When it is time to remove it—about every 90 days because the adhesive and look degrades—one need only pull the zipper perforation, leaving zero residue.
Last year Silver Defender won the ISSA Innovation Award in the Services and Technology category.
Silver Defender also produces face masks that include silver ions infused into the fabric. Lasting up to 75 wash cycles, they include a BPA-free plastic window panel so the wearer’s mouth can be seen.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.