Antimicrobial Properties of Copper Alloy Surfaces, With a Focus on Hospital-Acquired Infections
- 55 Downloads
Recent laboratory studies show that several bacteria, known to be human pathogens, die when they come in contact with dry copper and copper alloy surfaces at room temperature. The amount of live bacteria drops by several orders of magnitude, to zero, on copper alloys in one to two hours. In contrast, almost no reduction is seen in the concentration of live organisms on stainless steel after several hours and even days. Aluminum, painted and coated surfaces and plastics would also exhibit behavior similar to stainless steel and show no effect. In addition, coatings and other surfaces claiming to be antimicrobial also showed little to no effect. These results suggest the selection of copper alloys for surfaces exposed to human touch can materially assist in reducing bacterial contamination, which should lead to a reduction in the transmission of infectious organisms. In order to make antimicrobial claims in the United States, the approval of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required. The EPA-required efficacy testing is described and the test results are summarized. EPA registration of 275 cast and wrought copper alloys was received on February 29, 2008. It is anticipated that registration will facilitate the introduction of antimicrobial copper alloys in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities, as well as schools, and public buildings. Some of the barriers to entry into the healthcare markets are mentioned.
Keywordscopper antimicrobial bacteria
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Kuhn, P.J., Doorknobs: A Source of Nosocomial Infections? Diagnostic Medicine, Published by Medical Economics Co, 1983, Nov–Dec.Google Scholar
- 7.Michels, H.T., Wilks, S.A., Keevil, C.W., Effects of Copper Alloy Surfaces on the Viability of Bacterium, E. coli 0157:H7, The Second Global Congress Dedicated to Hygienic Coatings & Surfaces, Paint Research Association, Middlesex, UK, 2004, Paper 16.Google Scholar
- 8.Michels, H.T., Wilks, S.A., Keevil, C.W., The Antimicrobial Effects of Copper Alloy Surfaces on the Bacterium E. coli 0157:H7, Proceedings of Copper 2003 — Cobre 2003, The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 2003, 1, 439–450.Google Scholar
- 9.Michels, H.T., Noyce, J.O., Wilks, S.A., Keevil, C.W., The Antimicrobial Effects of Cast Copper Alloy Surfaces on the Bacterium E. coli 0157: H7, AFS Transactions, American Foundry Society, Schaumburg, IL, USA, 2005, 275–287.Google Scholar
- 10.Michels, H.T., Noyce, J.O., Wilks, S.A., Keevil, C.W., Copper Alloys for Human Infectious Disease Control, Copper for the 21st Century, Materials Science & Technology-2005 (MS&T’05) Conference, ASM International, Metals Park, OH, 2005, 1546–2498.Google Scholar
- 11.Michels, H.T., Anti-Microbial Characteristics of Copper, ASTM Standardization News, 2006, 11(Oct), 28–31.Google Scholar
- 13.Michels, H.T., Noyce, J.P., Wilks, S.A., Keevil, C.W., Antimicrobial Effects of Cast Copper Alloy Surfaces on the Bacterium E.coli 0157:H7, Paper 05-009(03), AFS Transactions 2005, American Foundry Society, Schaumburg, IL, USA, 275–287.Google Scholar
- 14.Sadayappan, M., Sahoo, M., Michels, H.T., Current Developments in Copper Casting Research, 2005, World Foundrymen Organization, Technical Forum, St. Louis, MO; AFS Transactions. 1105-1112.Google Scholar
- 15.Noyce, J.O., Michels, H., Keevil, C.W., Use of Copper Cast Alloys To Control Escherichia coli 0157 Cross-Contamination during Food Processing, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, June 2006, 4239–4244.Google Scholar