Cloth That Clobbers Germs

SOMETIMES THE KITCHEN SEEMS LIKE A war zone. Raw chicken could leave salmonella smears on the cutting board, and lethal germs might be dripping from the raspberries. No wonder business is booming at Microban Products Co. in Huntersville, N.C. Since 1990, it has been supplying manufacturers of hospital gear with antimicrobial chemical additives. Mixed into synthetic fibers in protective clothing or bedcovers, these pellet-encased additives kill bacteria and fungi on contact. The pellets stay embedded in finished materials, impervious to repeated washing, according to product testers at North American Science Associates Inc., Kennesaw, Ga.

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