Antimicrobial Copper provides a second line of defense against harmful bacteria and must be cared for in order to work effectively.
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As a condition to the registration of Antimicrobial Copper as the first touch surface material that continuously kills bacteria*, the Environmental Protection Agency required Copper Development Association to institute a Product Stewardship Program. The purpose of the program is to ensure the proper use and care of these innovative materials. The Stewardship Program promotes the responsible use of Antimicrobial Copper and clarifies misleading statements discovered in various media.
The use of Antimicrobial Copper surfaces does not replace standard hospital infection control and prevention procedures and good hygienic practices such as hand washing. Antimicrobial Copper surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized regularly according to standard practices, just like other surfaces. .
Antimicrobial Copper surfaces may be subject to recontamination and the level of active bacteria at any particular time will depend on the frequency and timing of recontamination and cleanliness of the surface (among other factors).
Antimicrobial Copper surfaces must not be waxed, painted, lacquered, varnished, or otherwise coated.
Routine cleaning to remove dirt and filth is necessary for good hygiene and to ensure the effective antimicrobial performance of the copper alloy surface. Cleaning agents typically used for traditional touch surfaces are permissible and should be used in accordance with the product label. The appropriate cleaning agent depends on the type of soiling and the measure of sanitization required. Normal tarnishing or wear of Antimicrobial Copper surfaces will not impair the antimicrobial effectiveness of the product as the antimicrobial property is inherent to the bulk materials.
These products are not approved for use in any form that has direct food contact or as food packaging.
Antimicrobial Copper surfaces may be used in hospitals, other healthcare facilities, and various public, commercial, and residential buildings for approved non-food contact surfaces. Surfaces that may be exposed to outdoor environmental conditions (e.g. handrails, shopping carts, and ATM machines) are not representative of indoor laboratory test conditions, and therefore, may impart reduced efficacy if not cleaned when visibly soiled.
Copper and copper alloys are engineering materials that are durable, colourful and recyclable and are widely available in various product forms suitable for a range of manufacturing purposes. Copper and its alloys offer a suite of materials for designers of functional, sustainable and cost-effective products.
Some specific copper alloys have intrinsic antimicrobial properties (so-called ‘Antimicrobial Copper’) and products made from these materials have an additional, secondary benefit of contributing to hygienic design. Products made from Antimicrobial Copper are a supplement to, not a substitute for standard infection control practices. It is important that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.
*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7. Antimicrobial copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination or infections; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices.