By Scott E. Kinney, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, December 14, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
[Atlantic News Photo by Scott E. Kinney]
HAMPTON -- A local business is leading the way in fighting bacterial infections such as the much-publicized MRSA bacteria as well as leading the way in the use of recycled products.
Foss Manufacturing Company of Hampton is the first company to successfully embed a natural balance of silver and copper into fiber, and announced at the end of October that its Fosshield patented technology is 99.99 percent effective in killing the methicillin-resistant MRSA bacteria to below the level of detection within one hour.
MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus aureus (staph) that has proven resistant to certain antibiotics including methicillin and more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin, cephalexin and amoxicillin. As of recent, MRSA incidences have been on the rise in the US and it has now become recognized as a major community-acquired pathogen and growing crisis.
"Results from our independent laboratory studies have shown that the Fosshield technology kills MRSA, as well as a broad spectrum of bacteria capable of transmission by contact, to levels below detection within one hour and in some instances less than 10 minutes, and also exhibits anti-viral activity," said Charles P. Gerba, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Microbiology, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona.
Principal owner Jim Magruder said the process had been patented since 2004, but it was not until May 2006, shortly after the business was purchased, that the process had been truly researched.
He said an extensive research and development program was created in the face of the fear of a bird flu pandemic.
"We understood the value of the product when we saw it," said Magruder.
Magruder said with MRSA making big news, the mainstream media was confusing the general public by claiming that just washing your hands was enough to avoid infection.
"Once you touch an object and then touch your clothes it's on there," said Magruder.
According to Dr. Gerba, MRSA survives longer on fabric than other surfaces. As a result, Fossheild technology has become part of the long-term solution to this crisis and an integral part environmental counter-strategies in the fight against antibiotic-resistant infection.
Magruder said the new technology can be utilized in 60 to 65 percent of the areas found to harbor bacteria in hospitals. That doesn't include the areas of daily life.
The true beauty of the product is that it can be utilized in any fabric, to create a material that is safe against bacteria and virus.
The material has already been used to create a medical mask, the SpectraShield 9900, which is believed to be the only face mask today that is approved to provide "dual-action," broad spectrum protection, which may be critical in the event of a major public health crisis. The mask, already being utilized in Canada, awaits FDA approval here in the states, and approval for usage is currently being sought in the European Union, Australia and Japan.
In addition to combating MRSA, the weave has been proven to kill Streptococcus pyogenes (strep), Legionella pneumonphila (more commonly known as "Legionnaires disease), Haemphilus influenzae (flu) and Tuberculosis. Test results indicate a consistent and significant reduction in bacteria after one hour.
Magruder said Hanes has already come on board with weaving Fosshield into its underwear. Several more companies are currently in negotiations with Foss to utilize their product. He also said to expect a major announcement within the carpeting industry sometime during early next year.
Foss Manufacturing has also created Ecospun, a high-quality polyester created from 100 percent post consumer plastic bottles. That water bottle you're drinking from right now can be combined with 16 more to create a sweatshirt. A total of 48 bottles and you've got yourself a 6'x8' area rug.
The utilization of the two processes can also combine to create a fabric that is both good for the environment as well as good for the health of all.
"It's the most exciting part of our business," said Magruder. "We're not just a commodity product anymore."
For more information on the products of Foss Manufacturing visit their Web site at www.fossmfg.com.