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Porex launches PTFE sheet in US

By: Roger Renstrom

April 2, 2013

ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Porex Corp. of Fairburn, Ga., has developed a line of four specialty porous polytetrafluoroethylene sheets now in use in Europe and entering the U.S. market.

The material addresses the need for combating the rising costs of health-care-associated infections, said Rusty Martin, Porex global director of advanced solutions.

Porex manufactures the PTFE sheet at a plant in Inverness, Scotland.

Called Porex P3 Technology, the material complies with high airflow and high microbial-resistance requirements based on the new ASTM International packaging standard F2638, which "is a more realistic test" than the predecessor ASTM standard F1608 under which P3 also complies, according to Martin.

A new venting capability is useful for ethylene oxide sterilization in medical-device packaging.

Outside the U.S., hospitals reuse and reprocess the material, perhaps up to 1,000 times.

The U.S. market has a higher need for the product and "more critical applications," Martin said Feb. 13 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West trade show in Anaheim. Hospitals want an alternative to antibiotics in treating infections.

In addition to the Scotland location, Porex facilities in the U.S., Germany and Malaysia manufacture products with capabilities to filter, vent, wick and diffuse materials in medical-device applications. Of the firm's total production, 55 percent is consumed in the U.S. market, Martin said.

The presentation included a structural comparison between Porex's new porous PTFE sheet and flash-spun high density polyethylene fibers such as those in DuPont Co.'s Tyvek-brand nonwoven synthetic material.

In another product development, Porex created a new sintered porous self-sealing media with a broader capability to block polar organic solvents and acidic solutions. The media has high gas permeability and the capability to filter bacteria.

In 2012, Porex introduced an antimicrobial barrier technology-brand alloy containing a porous base polymer and the chemical antiseptic chlorhexidine.

That alloy is now available in three antimicrobial platforms: standard bacterial filtration, microbicidal and a silver antimicrobial porous media, according to the company.