After many years of independent laboratory testing, followed by additional rigorous testing under U.S. EPA approved protocols, 500 copper alloys (including brasses and bronzes) were registered as public health antimicrobial products by U.S. EPA on February 29, 2008.
This means that uncoated antimicrobial copper alloy products sourced from EPA-registered suppliers can claim to kill >99.9% of the following six harmful bacteria* within two hours when cleaned regularly:
- E. coli O157:H7, a food-borne pathogen that has been associated with large-scale food recalls;
- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), one of the most virulent strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a constant culprit to patient safety and quality in healthcare environments;
- Staphylococcus aureus, the most common of all bacterial staphylococcus (i.e. staph) infections that can cause life-threatening diseases, including pneumonia and meningitis;
- Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), an antibiotic resistant organism responsible for 4% of all Healthcare-Associated Infection;
- Enterobacter aerogenes, a pathogenic bacterium commonly found in hospitals that causes opportunistic skin infections and impacts other body tissues; and,
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that infects the pulmonary tracts, urinary tracts, blood, and skin of immunocompromised individuals.
Unlike many traditional infection control products (e.g. gases, liquids, sprays, and concentrated powders), antimicrobial copper alloys are solid, metal surfaces with continuous antimicrobial activity.
Antimicrobial copper products can only be sold by EPA-registered equipment manufacturers that source material from EPA-registered copper alloy suppliers.
To review the complete list of EPA approved uses for Antimicrobial Copper, please read: EPA Approved Uses
*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.
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