New Study Confirms Copper Alloys Continuously Kill Bacteria, Keep Hospital Rooms Cleaner

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New Study Confirms Copper Alloys Continuously Kill Bacteria, Keep Hospital Rooms Cleaner

Sep 28, 2016

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The results are undeniable. A new clinical study investigating the bacteria-killing properties of copper has proven once again that the metal can play a leading role in fighting bacteria that cause healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The paper also reached a second finding destined to shake-up cleaning practices in the healthcare industry.

Published in the September 28, 2016, online edition of the American Journal of Infection Control and authored by Grinnell College associate professor of biology Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, Ph.D., the study is the first to show that surfaces in patient rooms quickly re-contaminate after terminal cleaning – even when the room is unoccupied. The paper also concluded that when surfaces in patient rooms are made of copper, bacterial loads do not rebound, whether the room is occupied or not.

Dr. Hinsa-Leasure’s study found that 93 percent of rooms at the Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) that included copper surfaces remained at or near the recommended threshold for terminal cleaning (250 CFU/100 cm2). Only 49 percent of rooms without copper surfaces met that same threshold.

“Stainless steel, plastic and wood do not have the inherent bacteria fighting attributes of copper,” she said. “So even the most conscientious cleaning doesn’t do the job that copper does all on its own.” According to Hinsa-Leasure, the results demonstrate that the use of copper surfaces can protect patients from bacteria that lead to infections.

Hinsa-Leasure emphasized that GRMC’s environmental services staff does an excellent job cleaning the surfaces at the medical center, but that copper can further improve performance. “The research illustrates that no matter how well the institution cleans, germs can recolonize on surfaces. Copper addresses that recolonization,” she said. “Copper alloy surfaces keep on killing bacteria.”

Hinsa-Leasure’s team spent 18 months testing a range of high-touch surfaces in the medical-surgical unit at GRMC. The copper surfaces used in the study were EPA-registered CuVerro® copper alloys. CuVerro® copper surfaces kill 99.9% of bacteria* within 2 hours of contact, including antibiotic-resistant superbugs like MRSA and VRE. CuVerro partners with leading manufacturers who produce a range of commercially-available products like grab bars, door hardware, IV poles, light switches, keyboards, and sinks with copper touch surfaces.

GRMC President and CEO Todd Linden said the medical center is now installing products made with CuVerro® copper throughout the facility. “The bactericidal benefits of copper are just too compelling for us to ignore when it comes to patient and staff health and welfare,” he said.

About CuVerro®

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CuVerro® is manufactured by GBC Metals, LLC, doing business as Olin Brass, a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Brass and Copper, Inc. which is a subsidiary of Global Brass and Copper Holdings, Inc., the leading manufacturer and distributor of copper, copper-alloy and bactericidal copper sheet, strip, plate, foil, rod, ingot and fabricated components in North America and one of the largest in the world. GBC Metals engages in the melting, casting, rolling, drawing, extruding and stamping of specialized copper and copper alloys finished products from scrap, cathode and other refined metals. (OB-0038-1607)

*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, CuVerro surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli O157:H7, and Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE).The use of CuVerro® bactericidal copper products is a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices, including those practices related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces. This surface has been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but it does not necessarily prevent cross contamination.