Stainless steel may look clean, but deadly bacteria that threaten patient safety can thrive on this material for weeks or even months.
Antimicrobial Copper is the first metallic touch surface registered by the EPA to continuously kill greater than 99.9% of bacteria* that cause hospital acquired infections and degrade hygiene in hospitals.
Extensive EPA laboratory testing is required to make public health claims.
Antimicrobial Copper has passed all EPA testing protocols, is registered by the EPA to make public health claims, and is another weapon for Infection Control and Prevention professionals in healthcare environments.
Antimicrobial Copper's efficacy against the 6 registered bacteria is summarized below.
Antimicrobial Copper provides supplemental defense against MRSA. Copper is an excellent material for frequently touched surfaces because of its ability to kill MRSA in between regular cleanings.
Infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus are commonly found in healthcare settings, but are also present in fitness facilities, schools and assisted living facilities. Antimicrobial Copper kills 99.9% of this bacterium within two hours in between routine cleanings and touches. The chart below shows the effectiveness of an Antimicrobial Copper surface. Click on graph to enlarge
Antimicrobial Copper kills 99.9% of E. coli O157:H7 within two hours adding an additional level of protection to good hygienic practices. The chart below demonstrates that Antimicrobial Copper kills E. coli O157:H7 while stainless steel, plastic have virtually no effect after six hours.
Figure 2. Viability of E. coli O157:H7 on Plastic, Antimicrobial Copper, Stainless Steel - Click on graph to enlarge
The graph below shows Antimicrobial Copper's intrinsic ability to kill this resilient bacterium. Within two hours, more than 99.9% of Enterobacter aerogenes colony forming units is killed on copper and brass, two Antimicrobial Copper alloys, while very little reduction is observed on the stainless steel.
Figure 3. Viability of Enterobacter aerogenes on Touch Surface Materials - Click on graph to enlarge
Antimicrobial Copper surfaces effectively kill this pathogen while other surface materials are relatively inert. U.S. EPA tests confirmed that Antimicrobial Copper alloys kill more than 99.9% of Pseudomonas aeruginosa within two hours under 3 test protocols.
VRE is resistant to several antibiotics and is easily spread by touch throughout the healthcare environment. Antimicrobial Copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of VRE within two hours of exposure providing added protection against this resilient organism.
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.