Suberra cork floors, counters, and work surfaces are hypo-allergenic and antimicrobial. It’s not a joke. Suberra cork surfaces are antimicrobial and hypo-allergenic. But what does that really mean?

Hypo-allergenic is defined as relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

Antimicrobial is defined as killing or suppressing the growth of micro-organisms, mainly mold and bacteria. Mold and bacteria are particularly relevant to building materials because they colonize rapidly and multiply quickly on surfaces. Viruses, on the other hand, require living host cells to survive.

At ECO Supply, we take the time to educate our customers about the performance of our sustainable, green building materials. We also vet our products personally by visiting each factory and performing our own testing. While we respect many of the certifying agencies, we feel responsible for doing our own homework and sharing the results with our customers.

After performing approximately $20,000 worth of lab testing on Suberra, here’s what we found:

Suberra passed the ASTM G21 test, which is a benchmark for testing the fungal resistance of manmade polymers, with flying colors. There was “no observed fungal growth … no fungal growth observed after 28 days of exposure to several types of fungi (Aspergillus niger, Chaetomium globosum, Gliocladium virans, Aureobasidium pullulans, and Penicillium funiculosum).”

This test involves spraying high concentrations of spores onto the material surface, with temperatures between 35-100° F and humidity levels at 60-100%. With some materials, there is a risk that trace amounts of growth will make the material more susceptible to attack. There is also some interpretation involved in mid ranges of contamination. However, Suberra simply had no fungal growth, so neither was an issue.

We had to go outside ASTM for a bacteria test, since they discontinued their bacterial testing a number of years ago. We found a shelf life and food testing lab that would test for the most aggressive forms of bacteria, and again Suberra did extremely well, achieving their 5-star rating.

Measurements are taken for microbes like E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, after contaminating the surface material with each different species and allowing it to sit for 24 hours. The company then assigns a rating of one to five stars, respectively, for Poor, Average, Good, Excellent, or Superior. Suberra cork countertops scored 5 stars for all of the bacteria tests performed.

Prior to testing, the test material was washed down and sanitized. The results indicated fewer than 10 cfu/g for E. coli, NEG for Salmonella, and NEG for Listeria. It also sanitized well post-test.