Antimicrobial Copper FAQ

How can I recognize a product made of Antimicrobial Copper?

As a global industry representative, the International Copper Association (ICA), has created the Antimicrobial Copper brand and the symbol Cu +, to ensure responsible treatment in in relation to the field implementation of copper and its alloys.
Use of the Antimicrobial Copper brand and symbol Cu + indicate that a Copper Center, representing ICA, has given permission to do so based on adherence to strict rules of use. These standards help the organization understand the underlying technology and how to promote and implement it in line with the latest research and regulatory requirements and existing legislative.
Antimicrobial Copper is the term that encompasses all antimicrobial copper alloys approved.

Is there any official institution that verifies effectiveness antimicrobial of copper?

Yes. On February 29, 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency The US (EPA) registered 275 copper alloys as materials antimicrobials that continuously inactivate bacteria that they pose a threat to human health.
Since then have recorded more alloys totaling over 350 registered alloys.
Copper is the only solid material that has this registry, which is used in the marketing of products in the USA.

What bacteria are included in the EPA registry?

Laboratory studies carried out under the protocols EPA-approved have demonstrated the ability of copper to eliminate, in the first 2 hours from the moment of contact, more than 99.9% of the following disease-causing bacteria:
– Staphylococcus aureus
– Enterobacter aerogenes
– Escherichia coli O157: H7 (E. coli O157: H7)
– Pseudomonas aeruginosa
– Enterococcus faecalis
(Vancomycin resistant)
– Methylicin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Sometimes the MRSA It is also defined as a “Superbug”.

What other pathogenic microbes can copper kill?

The scientific literature cites the efficacy of copper to eliminate or inactivate many different types of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses, including:
– Acinetobacter baumannii
– Adenovirus
– Aspergillus niger
– Candida albicans
– Campylobacter jejuni
– Clostridium difficile
– Enterobacter aerogenes
– Escherichia coli O157:H7
– Helicobacter pylori
– A Flu (H1N1)
– Klebsiella pneumoniae
– Legionella pneumophila
– Listeria monocytogenes
– MRSA (incluyendo E-MRSA)
– Mycobacterium tuberculosis
– Poliovirus
– Pseudomonas aeruginosa
– Salmonella enteriditis
– Staphylococcus aureus

– Enterococcus faecalis (Vancomycin resistant)

Could microorganisms develop copper resistance?

This is highly unlikely for three reasons:
Copper is naturally present in the earth’s crust, and to date, no resistant microorganism has been demonstrated. There are copper tolerant microorganisms, but even these are eliminated by coming into contact with copper surfaces.
– Copper kills microorganisms in multiple ways rather than acting specifically on a receptor.
Microorganisms are killed before they can multiply, so they cannot pass genetic material that allows them to evolve and develop resistance.

How does copper inactivate pathogens?

Copper is an essential nutrient for humans as well as for bacteria, but in high doses copper ions can cause a number of possible negative interaction events in bacterial cells, including the following:
– Cause the loss of potassium or glutamate through the bacterial outer membrane
– Disturb osmotic balance
– Bind to proteins that don’t need copper
– Cause oxidative stress by generating hydrogen peroxide
– Cause degradation of bacterial DNA

If copper reduces microbes, is it safe?

Yes, copper, brass and bronze surfaces are safe and durable.
The copper industry carried out a Voluntary Risk Assessment of copper, the analysis process of which was agreed with the Higher Institute of Health of the Italian Government, which acted as a review country representing the European Commission and the Member States of the EU.
One of the main conclusions of this voluntary risk assessment, approved by the European Commission and by experts from the Member States, is that, in general, “the use of copper products is safe for the environment and for the health of the persons”.
Copper is also an essential micronutrient in the human diet, along with zinc and iron.
An adult needs a daily intake of 1mg of copper.
Foods rich in copper include chocolate, walnuts and whole grains.
A balanced diet should provide enough copper to avoid a deficiency of this micronutrient.

If copper kills pathogens, does that mean that does not need to be cleaned?

No, copper alloy products need to be cleaned and disinfect in the same way as any other surface contact, to remove dirt that may prevent contact with copper surface.
The prescribed hygiene practices for cleaning contact surfaces along with hand washing are the first lines of defense.
Copper Alloy surfaces are a complement to, and not a substitute for, regular hygiene and infection control practices.
Copper alloy products remain active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and help reduce the microbial contamination between cleaning shifts.

How should copper and copper alloy surfaces be cleaned?

The cleaning and disinfection materials commonly used in hospitals can be used to clean copper.

How can copper surfaces benefit people?

Using copper and copper alloys on the most frequently touched surfaces in hospitals, such as cabinet handles and door knobs, bed rails, IV poles, soap dispensers, taps, or light switches, can help reduce the number of disease-causing microbes in hospitals.
Copper alloy surfaces have been shown to reduce microbial contamination between cleaning and disinfection shifts, making it a very useful additional measure to improve hygiene in hospitals. Preliminary data from the ICU trial conducted in the USA indicates that there is a significant reduction in the risk of infection associated with the use of copper surfaces.

Where can copper be used?

Antimicrobial Copper for contact surfaces can be used not only in hospitals, but also in many other cases where there may be a transmission of infections, such as nursing homes, ambulances, gyms, sports facilities, schools, kindergartens, offices, means of transport and public buildings.

Is there a return on investment model of an antimicrobial copper facility?

Professor Tom Elliott, head of the research conducted at Selly Oak Hospital, has stated that “the cost of equipping the trial room (a 20 bed general medicine room) was equivalent to the cost of 1.5 infections.”
A case study model is being prepared, developed by York University, which allows the necessary calculations to be made to evaluate the return on investment in the case of the installation of Antimicrobial Copper contact surfaces in a new building or remodeling project.
In different settings the return on investment occurs before the year, based on:
– Preliminary data on reduction of the Hospital Acquired Infeccions (HAIs) that were obtained in the trial carried out in three US hospitals
– Data on the cost of components obtained in the last antimicrobial copper facilities carried out in European hospitals
– Figures published in the United Kingdom on health care costs.

Source: European Copper Association