In February 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the registration of 275 antimicrobial copper alloys. By April 2011, that number expanded to 355. This permits public health claims that copper is capable of killing harmful, potentially deadly bacteria.
Copper is the first solid surface material to receive this type of EPA registration, which is supported by extensive antimicrobial efficacy testing.
U.S. EPA registration is based on independent laboratory tests showing that, when cleaned regularly, copper kills greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7.
These bacteria are considered to be representative of the most dangerous pathogens capable of causing severe and often fatal infections.
The EPA studies show that on copper alloy surfaces, greater than 99.9% of MRSA, as well as the other bacteria shown above, are killed within two hours at room temperature.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that infections acquired in U.S. hospitals affect two million individuals every year and result in nearly 100,000 deaths annually. The use of copper alloys for frequently touched surfaces, as a supplement to existing CDC-prescribed hand-washing and disinfection regimens, has far-reaching implications.
Potential uses of the copper where it can help to reduce the amount of disease-causing bacteria in healthcare, public spaces and generally in high attendance facilities includes door and furniture hardware.
Unlike coatings or other materials treatments, the antibacterial efficacy of copper metals won't wear away. They are solid through-and-through and are effective even when scratched. They offer long term protection; whereas, antimicrobial coatings are more fragile, and can deteriorate or and wear off after time.
As we will soon return to the workplace, we must be proactive and create healthier environments with reduced opportunities to transmit germs and viruses. Few weeks ago, pba introduced the AMC antimicrobial finish, a special finish with antimicrobial activity available for all our stainless steel 316L and aluminum door hardware. Today we are pleased to introduce the pba CU door pulls in copper. Copper has natural antimicrobial properties and is the first solid surface material to receive this type of EPA registration, which is supported by extensive antimicrobial efficacy testing. Not only for new designs and new buildings, pba copper pulls can replace the existing door pulls, an easy a quick solution to facilitate the return to the workplace.