Antimicrobial Copper is the only solid metal touch surface registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continuously kill bacteria* that pose a threat to human health. No other touch surface, including silver-containing coatings, has this kind of registration.
Antimicrobial Copper is the most effective touch surface and is the only solid metal with a US EPA public health registration. This type of registration means that Antimicrobial Copper kills specific bacteria* that cause infections and pose a threat to human health.
Silver-containing coatings do not have public health registration.
Instead, these coatings are marketed under the so-called 'treated article exemption' which means the antimicrobial agent may only protect the product itself from non-specific bacteria that cause odour and degradation. Such products are not proven to offer people any protection against disease-causing bacteria.
In contrast, products made from Antimicrobial Copper can be marketed in the US with the following public health claims:
Laboratory testing has shown that when cleaned regularly:
- This surface continuously reduces bacterial* contamination, achieving 99.9% reduction within two hours of exposure.
- This surface kills greater than 99.9% of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria* within two hours of exposure.
- This surface delivers continuous and ongoing antibacterial* action, remaining effective in killing greater than 99.9% of bacteria* within two hours.
- This surface kills greater than 99.9% of bacteria* within two hours, and continues to kill more than 99% of bacteria* even after repeated contamination.
- This surface helps inhibit the buildup and growth of bacteria* within two hours of exposure between routine cleaning and sanitising steps.
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.
*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.