CHICAGO, Jan. 27, 2003 – Steel with coatings containing AgION™– a silver ion-based compound that suppresses the growth of bacteria, molds, mildew, fungi and other microbes – will be used in the production of Carrier Corporation’s top air handling unit line, the company said today. The result of a new relationship with AK Coatings, Inc., the announcement was made during an event hosted for more than 800 Carrier customers attending the 2003 International Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration (AHR) Expo, here.Carrier’s 39M Aero™ air handling units and Racan-Carrier custom air handling systems will be available with AK Coating’s AgION antimicrobial-coated steel as an integral material for their pre-painted steel inner liners. Production of the new antimicrobial-coated Racan-Carrier units will begin immediately. The first antimicrobial-coated 39M Aero units will be produced in March 2003.“Recently, public awareness about mold, mildew and other microbes, has increased, particularly in the education and healthcare sectors, as the general public has learned that heat and humidity allow these elements to infiltrate their buildings,” Carrier’s North America Commercial President Todd Bluedorn said. “We’re proud to offer the AgION antimicrobial compound on our air handling units to our customers.”According to AK Coatings, AgION antimicrobial compound will suppress the growth of microbes. Simplified, silver ions – silver atoms with an electrical charge – are attracted to oppositely charged hydrogen ions – commonly found in most bacteria and microbes – like a magnet. Once the two ions connect, the hydrogen ions are no longer available for other chemical bonds, abruptly halting the bacteria and microbes’ respiration and growth.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered the AgION compound for use in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications. AgION is also U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recognized as an acceptable food contact substance.