Copper, only EPA-certified metal
Copper is the only metal certified by the EPA as a bactericide
Copper was the first solid material to be accepted in the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency of the USA) registry as a antimicrobial agent. Copper is therefore acknowledged to have the ability to eliminate harmful bacteria associated to potentially life-threatening microbial infection¹, including the influenza A virus (H1N1)². No other material has been certified with this property. The bacteria¹ registered by the EPA are:
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Enterobacter aerogenes
- Escherichia coli O157: H7
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Furthermore, according to scientific literature, copper also has an inhibitory effect on fungi and other microorganisms.
- Fungi: copper disactivates and prevents the growth of a variety of pathogens: Actinomucor elegans, Aspergillus niger, Penicillium chrysogenum, Rhizopus niveus, etc.
- Bacteria¹: Campylobacter jejuni, proteus, e. coli, staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus group d, Pseudomonas aeuruginosa, linens bacterium, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus subtilis, Brevibacterium erytrhrogenes, tubercle bacillus, achomobacter fischeri, Photobacterium phosphoreum.
- Yeast: Candida utilis, Candida albicans, Saccharomyces mandshuricus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Torulopsis utilis, Paramecium caudatum.
- Virus: polyvirus and rotavirus.
Did you know...
In his latest research (presented within the framework of the 2nd World Annual BIT Life Science Summit on antivirals), a leading microbiologist, Professor Keevil (director of the Environmental Health Unit at the University of Sothampton) showed that copper activately inhibits influenza A and, therefore, he recommends that contact surfaces in public areas be made of copper or brass.
The study was based on analysing the incubation of influenza A and copper and stainless steel surfaces. The results showed that, after an incubation period of 24 hours, 500,000 virus particles remained infectious on stainless steel whereas, in only 1 hour of incubation on a copper surface, 75% of the virus was eradicated and, after 6 hours, only about 500 particles remained active.
Professor Keevil states that "with the continuing threat of the spread of the influenza virus, such as H1N1, there is a real and urgent need to implement all appropriate and effective measures with proven antimicrobial efficacy. Studies are constantly proving that the use of copper surfaces in key public spaces such as hospitals and food processing areas can restrict and significantly reduce the spread of disease".
Agent against legionella
The excellent thermal conductivity of copper and its ability to withstand rapid temperature increases make copper a safe, healthy and active choice against legionella.
The 2007 study by Kiwa Water Research assesses the effects of water temperature on the growth of Legionella in installations with different materials: copper, stainless steel, PVC-C and PEX-Al. The only material that eliminated all bacteria at 25º¹ was copper whereas, on other materials such as stainless steel, PVC-C and PEX, they were eradicated at 60°. In addition, inoculation into copper piping had to be repeated 5 times compared with just once for the other materials.