Arturo Merino Benítez Airport, Chile

Border Control booths at Chile's Arturo Merino Benítez Airport were upgraded to antimicrobial copper to help protect the health of travellers and staff using the facilities.

Arturo Merino Benítez Airport, Chile

More than six million people pass through Arturo Merino Benítez Airport's border control every day, offering ample opportunity for the spread of contamination via frequently-touched surfaces.

Professor Keevil, a leading expert in environmental health at the University of Southampton, explains the value of antimicrobial copper for public spaces: 'Copper touch surfaces have promise for preventing antibiotic resistance transfer in public buildings and mass transportation systems, which leads to local and – in the case of jet travel – rapid worldwide dissemination of multidrug-resistant superbugs as soon as they appear.

'People with inadequate hand hygiene from different countries could exchange their bugs and different antibiotic resistance genes just by touching a stair rail or door handle, ready to be picked up by someone else and passed on. Copper substantially reduces and restricts the spread of these and other infections, making an important contribution to improved hygiene and, consequently, health.'

Border control counters at Arturo Merino Benítez have been upgraded to antimicrobial copper. Prefect Inspector Alfredo Chiang Chau, of the Investigative Police Department in charge of border control, says of the choice: 'Every day, we receive significant numbers of passengers from all over the world, meaning the department has to provide an integrated service, engaged with the community, which meets the highest international standards.'

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.

Copper and certain 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 essential that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.

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