The Coalition believes that using antimicrobial coatings on high touch surfaces will be the leading method of reducing community and healthcare acquired infection.
CHAIR is actively undertaking onsite trials of copper-coated surfaces in Canada.
The most promising antimicrobial coating that CHAIR will be testing extensively in both laboratory and hospital settings is a copper alloy.
Copper, brass and bronze kill pathogens including MRSA that are responsible for Hospital and Community Acquired Infections!
New research on copper suggests it’s a useful tool in infection control. In 2009, Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, UK, reduced bacteria by up to 95% using copper surfaces, when compared to stainless steel and plastic.
Trial results show copper surfaces even killed the drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) within an hour’s contact. This trial replaced taps, door push plates, grab handles, bedside trolleys and a toilet seat.
Similar trials are being carried out all over the world.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health Canada PMRA has approved the registration of copper as an antimicrobial material, allowing manufacturers to claim that copper surfaces can kill specific bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA], vancomycin-resistant enterococci [VRE], Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 that cause infections and pose a threat to human health. Copper is the first solid surface material to receive such registration as an antimicrobial.
The literature has shown that copper might also be effective against viruses, other bacteria, and fungal pathogens 28,29. More than 479 antimicrobial copper alloys are EPA-registered health antimicrobial products available to address both practical and aesthetic demands.
The natural tarnishing of copper does not have any impact of the antimicrobial efficacy. The results of tests indicated that tarnished antimicrobial copper alloys still kill greater than 99.9% of the five bacteria tested within two hours. This confirms that natural tarnishing of copper has no effect on its antimicrobial properties.
Antimicrobial copper alloys are not approved for use in food-contact or drinking water applications.
Appropriate copper and copper alloys are being identified and developed as infection control products for hospital intensive care units in Asia and Australia. An Asian Copper Consortium of Partners “CopperShield” has been formed to raise awareness of copper’s role in fighting bacteria.
These surfaces may include some or all of the following:
Hot and cold taps
Door push plates
Toilet flush levers
Sink traps and wastes
Bed side table tops
Drip pole stands
In trials, stainless steel, the control material, had virtually no reduction in the number of colony forming units after six hours, (the duration of the test).