Antimicrobial Copper: an innovative weapon in the fight to improve hygiene in healthcare
Antimicrobial Copper provides a second line of defense against harmful bacteria and must be cared for in order to work effectively.
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Following the unprecedented registration of Antimicrobial
Copper as the only touch surface materials that continuously kills
bacteria* , the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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.
of Antimicrobial Copper alloys (such as brass and bronze) does not
replace standard hospital infection control procedures and good
hygienic practices such as hand washing. Antimicrobial Copper
surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized regularly according to
standard practices. Healthcare
facilities must maintain the Antimicrobial Copper surfaces just
like traditional materials like stainless steel and plastic to
comply 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.
cleaning to remove dirt and filth is necessary for good hygiene and
to ensure the effective antimicrobial performance of the copper
alloy surface. Cleaning agents typically used for traditional touch
surfaces are permissible and should be used in accordance with the
product label. 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 bulk materials.
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.