Antimicrobial Copper: an innovative weapon in the fight to improve infection control in healthcare
Antimicrobial Copper provides a strong line of defense against harmful bacteria and must be cared for in order to work effectively and improve patient safety.
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Following the unprecedented registration of Antimicrobial Copper
as the only touch surface that continuously kills bacteria that
threaten patient safety, the EPA instated a Stewardship Program to
ensure the proper use and care of these innovative building
materials. The Stewardship Plan promotes the responsible use
of Antimicrobial Copper and clarifies misleading statements
discovered in various media.
The use of Antimicrobial Copper alloys (such as brass and
bronze) does not replace standard hospital infection control
procedures and good hygienic practices. Antimicrobial Copper
surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized according to standard
practice. Healthcare facilities must maintain the
product in accordance with infection control guidelines; users must
continue to follow all current infection control practices,
including those practices related to disinfection of environmental
Antimicrobial Copper surfaces may be subject to recontamination
and the level of active bacteria at any particular time will depend
on the frequency and timing of recontamination and cleanliness of
the surface (among other factors).
Antimicrobial Copper surfaces must not be waxed, painted,
lacquered, varnished, or otherwise coated.
Routine cleaning to remove dirt and filth is necessary for good
hygiene and to assure the effective antimicrobial performance of
the Antimicrobial Copper surface. Cleaning agents typically used
for traditional touching surfaces are permissible; the appropriate
cleaning agent depends on the type of soiling and the measure of
sanitization required. Normal tarnishing or wear of Antimicrobial
Copper surfaces will not impair the antimicrobial effectiveness of
the product as the antimicrobial property is inherent to the
These products are not approved for use in any form that has
direct food contact or as food packaging.
Antimicrobial Copper surfaces may be used in hospitals, other
healthcare facilities, and various public, commercial, and
residential buildings for approved non-food contact surfaces.
Surfaces that may be exposed to outdoor environmental conditions
(e.g. handrails, shopping carts, and ATM machines) are not
representative of indoor laboratory test conditions, and therefore,
may impart reduced efficacy if not cleaned when visibly soiled.
* Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly,
Antimicrobial Copper™ kills greater than 99.9% of the following
bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA,
Vancomycin-ResistantEnterococcus faecalis (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;
users must continue to follow all current infection control
practices. Michels et al, Lett Appl Microbiol,
49 (2009) 191-195 demonstrated that Antimicrobial Copper™
outperforms two commercially available silver-containing coatings
under typical indoor conditions.