Copper is the most effective touch surface material
Antimicrobial Copper is the most effective touch surface material in the fight against pathogenic microbes, killing greater than 99.9% of bacteria* within 2 hours of exposure. No other material, such as silver-containing coatings, comes close.
Laboratory research on the efficacy of
Antimicrobial Copper has been carried out and verified at
institutions around the world, including the UK (Aston University,
University of Southampton, Kingston University), US, South Africa,
Germany and Japan. Results have been peer reviewed and
Kill times vary according to organism, strain, level of
challenge, copper content of alloy and temperature - being more
rapid at 20°C but still with a considerable effect at 4°C. Copper
exhibits efficacy under typical indoor conditions (humidity and
temperature). Silver-containing materials (from two manufacturers)
and triclosan behaved as the stainless steel control i.e. showed no
antimicrobial efficacy under these conditions.
Efficacy against the following pathogenic organisms has been
- Acinetobacter baumannii
- Aspergillus niger
- Candida albicans
- Campylobacter jejuni
- Clostridium difficile (including spores)
- Enterobacter aerogenes
- Escherichia coli O157:H7
- Helicobacter pylori
- Influenza A (H1N1)
- Legionella pneumophila
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA,
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Salmonella enteritidis
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Tubercle bacillus
- Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE)
Sample data: MRSA
Click on graph to enlarge
EPA Registration Test Data
In the US, antimicrobial products marketed with public health
claims must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA). Copper is the first solid material to be registered. Outside
of the US, this registration represents an independent, official
recognition of the laboratory data presented and supports
quantified efficacy claims applicable to all registered alloys for
the organisms tested.
Antimicrobial Copper is the only touch surface registered by the
US EPA to continuously kill greater than 99.9% of bacteria* that
Stainless steel may look clean, but deadly bacteria can thrive
on this material for days.
Silver-containing coatings claim to be effective, but in fact,
no silver-containing coating has been registered by the EPA with
public health claims. Extensive laboratory testing is
required to make public health claims. Products must prove
that they effectively kill bacteria that pose a threat to human
health and safety.
Silver-containing coatings rely on a treated article
exemption. This form of EPA registration only permits
products to claim that the active ingredient protects the product
itself from degradation and odour caused by non-specific
organisms. No scientific data on antimicrobial efficacy is
required to obtain this registration.
Antimicrobial Copper has passed the tests, is registered by the
EPA to make public health claims and is the most effective touch
Antimicrobial Copper's efficacy against the 6 registered
bacteria is summarised below.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Antimicrobial Copper provides an additional defence against
MRSA. Copper is an excellent material for frequently touched
surfaces because of its ability to kill MRSA in between regular
cleanings. The graph below illustrates the survival of MRSA on
Antimicrobial Copper, stainless steel, and two silver-containing
coatings. Within two hours, the number of live MRSA colony forming
units is reduced by 99.9% on Antimicrobial Copper. Almost no
reduction is observed on stainless steel and both silver-containing
coatings after six hours.
Figure 1: MRSA viability on Antimicrobial
Copper, stainless steel, and two silver-containing coatings at
20°C. Click on graph to enlarge
Infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus are commonly
found in healthcare settings, but are also present in fitness
facilities, schools and assisted living facilities.
Antimicrobial Copper kills 99.9% of this bacterium within two hours
in between routine cleanings and touches. The chart below
shows the effectiveness of an Antimicrobial Copper surface.
Click on graph to enlarge
Antimicrobial Copper kills 99.9% of E. coli O157:H7
within two hours adding an additional level of protection to good
hygienic practices. The chart below demonstrates that Antimicrobial
Copper kills E. coli O157:H7 while stainless steel,
plastic, and even a silver-containing coating have virtually no
effect after six hours.
Figure 2: Viability of E. coli O157:H7
on plastic, Antimicrobial Copper, stainless steel, and stainless
steel with a silver- containing coating - Click on
graph to enlarge
The graph below shows Antimicrobial Copper's intrinsic ability
to kill this resilient bacterium. Within two hours, more than 99.9%
of Enterobacter aerogenes colony forming units is killed
on copper and brass, two Antimicrobial Copper alloys, while very
little reduction is observed on the stainless steel.
Figure 3: Viability of Enterobacter
aerogenes on touch surface materials - Click on graph
Antimicrobial Copper surfaces effectively kill this pathogen
while other surface materials are relatively inert. U.S. EPA tests
confirmed that 282 Antimicrobial Copper alloys kill 99.9% of
Pseudomonas aeruginosa within two hours under 3 test
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report
that VRE is responsible for 4% of Healthcare-Associated
Infections. VRE is resistant to several antibiotics and is
easily spread by touch throughout the healthcare environment.
Antimicrobial Copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of VRE within
two hours of exposure providing added protection against this
*Peer reviewed scientific publications show Antimicrobial Copper
to be effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi and moulds,
including MRSA, Influenza A (H1N1), Clostridium difficile
Antimicrobial Copper is the only touch surface material to have
efficacy data independently verified through the US Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) registration which supports the claim to
continuously kill more than 99.9% of the bacteria that cause HCAIs
within two hours of contact. Organisms tested are MRSA,
Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes,
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli O157:H7 and
Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis.
Further work1 has demonstrated that Antimicrobial
Copper outperforms two commercially available silver-containing
coatings under typical indoor conditions.
A study2 on a busy medical ward at Selly Oak Hospital
showed a 90-100% reduction in contamination on Antimicrobial Copper
surfaces compared to surfaces made of conventional materials.
Trials in the US and Chile confirm these results. Antimicrobial
Copper surfaces are a supplement to, and not a substitute for,
standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce
 Effects of temperature and humidity on the
efficacy of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
challenged antimicrobial materials containing silver and
copper. H T Michels, J O Noyce and C W Keevil, Letters in
Applied Microbiology, 49 (2009) 191-195.
Role of copper in reducing hospital environment contamination.
A L Casey, D Adams, T J Karpanen, P A Lambert, B D Cookson, P
Nightingale, L Miruszenko, R Shillam, P Christian and T S J
Elliott, J Hosp Infect (2009).