The Copper Development Association (CDA) is preparing to submit an application to register antimicrobial copper alloys with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The CDA research has shown that 99.9 percent of bacteria are killed within two hours of coming into contract with copper alloy surfaces in contrast to no reduction in the concentration of live organisms on stainless steel during a six-hour test period.

The bacteria tested include E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes, both food-borne pathogens associated with several large scale food recalls, and Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), a hospital-acquired infection. The copper alloys tested include high coppers, brasses, bronzes, copper-nickels and copper-nickel-zincs. Because the research suggested the alloys could reduce the transmission of potentially infectious organisms, the CDA believes there could be a huge potential for use in areas such as health centers and hospitals with products such as door handles, bed poles, and stethoscopes.

The other uses of copper have been expanded to include fungicides, pesticides, antifouling paints, antimicrobial medicines, oral hygiene products, hygienic medical devices and antiseptics.

American Metal Market September 12, 2006