Even in the most proactive hospitals, bacteria can survive on surfaces for weeks and even months. Simply by installing antimicrobial copper touch surfaces, hospitals across the US are now supplementing their infection control programmes, and Grinnell Regional Medical Center is the first to share its expertise on the benefits and ease of boosting hygiene with copper.
19th May 2016
Copper is a powerful antimicrobial with rapid, broad-spectrum efficacy against bacteria and viruses, and has been shown to kill the pathogens that cause infections, including Influenza A, E.coli and norovirus. It works in between routine cleans and requires no additional staff training or special maintenance. It shares this benefit with a range of copper alloys—such as brasses and bronzes—forming a family of materials collectively called ‘antimicrobial copper’.
Grinnell Regional Medical Center—the largest hospital in Iowa, with 49 beds and serving 40,000 residents—is just one of the revolutionary US hospitals to begin installing antimicrobial copper touch surfaces throughout as a boost to existing infection prevention and control measures to further protect patients, staff and visitors from the spread of infection.
Todd Linden, CEO of Grinnell, says: ‘A wonderful thing about copper is it’s doing its job to kill bacteria 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and so at the end of the day when I go home, I know we’ve got a new ally for fighting the potential for infection in our hospital, and that makes me feel great.’
Two videos featuring Grinnell—Installing Antimicrobial Copper Components and Cleaning and Maintaining Antimicrobial Copper Surfaces—have been created to help educate hospital executives and their staff on the benefits and ease of installing antimicrobial copper components.
Adam Estelle, a project engineer with Copper Development Association Inc. in the US, observes: ‘I think hospital staff have been very impressed by antimicrobial copper’s beauty and ease of maintenance, which is one of the reasons hospitals across North America have begun installing this scientifically proven bacteria killing metal.’
Companies in the UK, US and around the world are offering antimicrobial copper items approved under the Cu+ industry stewardship scheme, which offers assurance that products are made from the most effective antimicrobial material, backed by peer-reviewed published laboratory and clinical research and independent verification through US EPA registration.
Listed in an online directory, a wide range of products are available, from architectural hardware and ward furniture to sanitary fittings and medical equipment. With many different copper alloys to choose from, these durable products can exhibit the warm tones of brushed nickel, the colder grey of stainless steel, the warm yellows of brass, the rich browns of bronze, or the traditional red of copper.
While routine cleaning to remove dirt and grime is necessary, antimicrobial copper works continuously to kill harmful pathogens. As the surfaces are solid, there is no surface coating or treatment to wear away, so their antimicrobial efficacy will last the lifetime of the product.
Touch surfaces made from solid antimicrobial copper are used by hospitals, schools, mass transit hubs, sports facilities and offices around the world to boost other hygiene measures, such as hand washing, cleaning and disinfection, to help reduce the spread of infections.
For more information on antimicrobial copper, visit www.antimicrobialcopper.org.
For more information on US EPA registration requirements and approved claims for the U.S. market, visit www.antimicrobialcopper.org/us.
For more information and high-resolution images, contact:
Copper Development Association
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.