Afraid of the germs that may be lurking in the bins at the airport security area when you put in your shoes and carry-ons?

Akron-Canton Airport became the first airport in the world on Tuesday to employ special self-cleaning technology to combat those germs.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) bins at the airport now have special liners in the bins and on the handles. Cuyahoga Falls-based Western Reserve Hospital purchased the specialized mats and has committed to purchasing them for three years.

The bright orange mats and skins are developed by NanoTouch Materials, a Virginia-based company that has a patent pending on its technology.

Here’s how the company says it works: Powered by light, NanoSeptic surfaces use mineral nano-crystals, which create an oxidation reaction stronger than bleach. The surface continually kills germs.

The company says unlike traditional disinfectants and cleaners, the NanoSeptic surface uses no poisons, heavy metals or chemicals, and nothing is released from the surface since the nano-crystals are molecularly bonded to the material.

The partnership between the airport and hospital makes sense, said Rick McQueen, president and CEO of the airport.

“It keeps our bins germ-free for each customer each and every time you use this facility. I believe you will see this technology popping up at airports around the world in the very near future,” said McQueen.

The airport already had been considering finding a marketing partner to advertise in the TSA bins, as McQueen said he’d seen advertisers in other TSA bins around the country.

So when Western Reserve brought up the idea of buying the self-cleaning mats and putting the community hospital’s name on it, “this takes it to the next level,” McQueen said.

Hospital President and CEO Dr. Robert Kent said the initiative “reflects our commitment to support the health of our community far beyond our hospital walls.”

There are a lot of similarities between the community-based hospital and the airport, both trying to engage its clients, Kent said.

The next generation of health care is “how to better prevent disease and not just treating it,” Kent said.

Hospital spokesman Mark Bosko declined to say how much the hospital was spending on the mats.

While the Akron-Canton Airport is the first airport to use the NanoSeptic product, it is being used in a variety of industries, company co-founder Mark Sisson said.

Some other places the products are being used include a school in Virginia, which uses the skins on counters, mousepads and door handles; a J. Crew distribution facility; health care facilities, including a dental practice that has customized a travel mat for patients to rest their toothbrush; and the PGA Resort and Spa, which has been using the company’s self-cleaning TV channel guides in all of their rooms for the past three years.

Sisson said the company is not in discussions with any other airports yet as it wanted to see how the launch at Akron-Canton went.

“There was extensive testing that needed to be done with TSA to make sure the products would work well as part of their process as well as making sure the technology didn’t interfere with the security scanners. We also wanted to conduct onsite market research to gauge traveler perception. This will be great information to have when we approach other airports,” he said.

Under normal use, the product can last up to one year before it needs to be replaced. Under high-traffic use, the mats should likely be replaced every 90 days, said Mercedita Roxas-Murray, who represented NanoSeptic at the airport launch.

According to the company, the retail value is about $50 per mat.

Kent, Western Reserve’s CEO, said the hospital is looking into other places it might use the NanoSeptic mats, including in the hospital. At this time, he has no plans to reach out to Cleveland Hopkins for a partnership, saying Akron-Canton “is more our style: a high-touch, small institution.”

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty