FAQs

FAQs about CuVerro®

For answers to frequently asked questions about antimicrobial copper, EPA registration, or the benefits of using CuVerro® please read through our list of FAQs. To narrow your search, please use the 'sort by subject' option and see answers to the topic in which you are interested.

Q: What does the term "antimicrobial" mean?

A: “Antimicrobial” is a broad term, defined as an agent capable of destroying, killing or inhibiting the growth of disease-causing microorganisms. When applying this to touch surfaces, this leaves some confusion among both the medical community and general marketplace.

Q: Which bacteria (pathogens) have CuVerro® bactericidal copper alloys been proven to kill?

A: According to the EPA registration label CuVerro® copper surfaces, “…continuously kill bacteria left behind by dirty hands, killing more than 99.9% of bacteria within two hours… Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).”

Q: How can CuVerro® surfaces be used to supplement existing infection control practices?

A: Until now the most effective infection control plans combined proven practices such as routine cleaning, hand washing and good hygiene practices. CuVerro® bactericidal surfaces can enhance any infection control plan by providing a surface that continuously kills bacteria, fighting infectious bacteria 24/7.

Q: What are antimicrobial surfaces? Why are they important?

A: For decades, the only options to combat transmitting infections have related to hand hygiene and the cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces that harbor germs. These disinfectants are registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their efficacy, safety, environmental impact, and conditions of use.

Q: What is CuVerro?

A: CuVerro® is a class of copper-based alloys that continuously kill harmful bacteria1 24 hours a day. These attractive, durable and easy to maintain surfaces represent the only class of EPA-registered solid surface materials that actively kill bacteria1.

Q: What is the active ingredient in CuVerro® bactericidal surfaces?

A: Copper! While copper is the only active ingredient found in CuVerro®, Olin Brass offers a range of CuVerro® options that include other alloying metals that, along with the inherent antimicrobial properties of copper provide strength, durability, tarnish resistance, cleanability, flexibility, formability and color options. While the effective copper content varies in each alloy, ALL meet EPA registration standards for antimicrobial effectiveness.

Q: Why are CuVerro® surfaces deemed antimicrobial?

A: The antimicrobial properties of CuVerro® are grounded in scientific evidence and EPA recognition. EPA registration is based on comprehensive GLP (Good Laboratory Practices) test protocols that the EPA reviewed prior to granting registration. Learn more about Antimicrobial Efficacy.

Q: Is CuVerro® a surface coating?

A: No. CuVerro® bactericidal alloys are solid surfaces that will not wear, wash or scratch away. This is one of the main reasons why the EPA has registered copper alloys for their antimicrobial efficacy, and not coatings that contain nano-silver, silane or Triclosan additives. Read more about how CuVerro® surfaces compare to other antimicrobial surfaces.

Q: How does copper kill bacteria?

A: Copper is an essential nutrient for humans as well as bacteria, but in high doses, copper ions can cause a series of negative events in bacterial cells. The precise chemical and molecular mechanisms responsible for copper’s antimicrobial capabilities are still being researched, however, several theories exist.

Q: How important is copper content in selection of a bactericidal alloy?

A: Although copper is the active bactericidal ‘ingredient’ in CuVerro®, the selection of an appropriate alloy should be based on more than just copper content. This is because based on GLP testing, all EPA-registered copper alloys make the same registered EPA public health claims.

Q: Do CuVerro® surfaces need to be cleaned?

A: Yes. According to both EPA conditions of use and good hygienic practices, antimicrobial surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized according to standard practices and infection control guidelines.

Q: Can CuVerro® surfaces be coated or waxed?

A: No. Copper is a “living metal" and it is the continued interface of copper ions with the environment that makes copper such an effective antimicrobial agent.

Q: I have more questions about manufacturing with CuVerro® bactericidal copper alloys, who do I contact?

A: Olin Brass is the leading supplier of high performance alloys in the U.S. We provide assistance for the CuVerro® line of bactericidal copper alloys from mill to market.

Q: How do I properly dispose of CuVerro® Alloys?

A: CuVerro® alloys are 100% recyclable. They are composed of commonly found metals that pose no significant risk to humans or the environment. The metals found in CuVerro® alloys are naturally occurring and often found in their natural state through the environment. The EPA recommends that CuVerro® alloys be disposed of in a responsible manner such as recycling.

Q: What does the EPA registration mean?

A: On March 1, 2011 the EPA finalized registration of copper alloys with public health claims allowing producers such as Olin Brass to offer CuVerro® bactericidal copper.

Q: What are public health claims?

A: The EPA recognizes two types of antimicrobial products and classifies each according to the type of microorganism that the product adversely affects. CuVerro® bactericidal copper alloys are classified under Public Health products, and are registered to make claims “…intended to control microorganisms infectious to humans in any inanimate environment.”

Q: What specific registered EPA public health claims are permitted for CuVerro®?

A: Based on rigorous GLP (Good Laboratory Practices) testing conducted under EPA protocols, CuVerro® bactericidal copper alloys have been registered to make the following public health claims

Q: How is “CuVerro®” related to “Cu+ Antimicrobial Copper?”

A: Antimicrobial Copper is the generic term for copper touch surfaces with inherent properties to kill bacteria1 .

 

Q: Copper tarnishes, will my CuVerro® surface tarnish?

A: Despite the fact that CuVerro® bactericidal copper surfaces have been formulated for their strong resistance to tarnishing, all uncoated copper alloys are subject to natural oxidation. The effect however will be more comparable to the subtle surface changes typical of copper-nickel coins (such as dimes, nickels and quarters), which over time, shows minimal color change, compared to the more noticeable tarnish that can develop with, for example, a copper penny.

Q: How do CuVerro® surfaces compare to other antimicrobial surfaces?

A: There is literally no comparison. CuVerro® bactericidal copper surfaces represent the FIRST class of solid antimicrobial surfaces recognized and registered by the EPA to make public health claims for their inherent ability to kill infectious bacteria1 within 2 hours.

Q: Specifically, how are products that use silver, Triclosan and silane additives different from solid copper surfaces?

A: These additives, used to coat metal surfaces or as ingredients in molded plastics, do not have EPA public health registration and cannot match the ability of CuVerro® surface to kill 99.9% of harmful bacteria within 2 hours of exposure, and continue to kill bacteria after repeated contamination.1

Q: Where can CuVerro® bactericidal alloys be used?

A: Almost any touch surface where exposure to harmful bacteria is of concern. The EPA has approved a wide range of touch-surface applications suitable for CuVerro® bactericidal copper alloys including: handrails, door hardware, sinks, countertops, bedrails, pens and chair arms.

Q: Can CuVerro® bactericidal alloys be used in food service applications?

A: Yes. However currently, antimicrobial copper alloys are not approved for use with direct food contact or food packaging. But other highly touched surfaces like door and cabinet pulls, light switches, knobs, and restaurant furnishings or food bar ‘sneeze guards’ would be perfect applications.

Q: What type of surface finish is appropriate for CuVerro®?

A: CuVerro® bactericidal copper alloys offer the flexibility to accommodate a range of mechanical surface finish, including brushed, polished or peened. The only restriction is that no residual coating or film is allowed.

Q: Can we cut, weld, braze, grind, bend or form CuVerro® Alloys?

A: Yes. CuVerro® alloys can be fabricated in a wide range of manufacturing methods, while maintaining their inherent antimicrobial properties. In most cases CuVerro® medical grade alloys behave similar to stainless steel.

Q: Where can I purchase products made with CuVerro® bactericidal copper?

A: CuVerro® has teamed up with affiliate companies that are among the leaders in their respected industries to offer a full suite of products that incorporate CuVerro® bactericidal copper surfaces—for healthcare and beyond. Visit our Affiliate Showcase for more information, and contact a CuVerro® Expert for additional product and/or component offerings.

Q: What forms of CuVerro® are available?

A: CuVerro® bactericidal copper alloys are available in a variety of forms including: strip, sheet, tube, rod, and ingot. Contact our experts for additional technical information to help select the strength, temper or hardness that is best for your application.

Q: How is the quality and consistence of CuVerro controlled?

A: a href="http://olinbrass.com/">Olin Brass is ISO 9001:2008 registered and adheres to strict standards for process control, laboratory practices and quality management. These approaches to quality and process management ensure our customers will receive the highest quality CuVerro® product available.

Q: Are CuVerro® alloys safe?

A: Absolutely. Copper, the only active ingredient found in CuVerro® alloys, is a naturally occurring element and is even vital to human health as a dietary supplement.

Q: I have more questions about manufacturing with CuVerro® bactericidal copper alloys. Who do I contact?

A: If you are interested in receiving information on using CuVerro® bactericidal copper alloys in your products contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Q: Where can I find unbiased reviews of copper’s effectiveness?

A: Reviews on copper’s effectiveness against bacteria can be found in the Copper Development Association's Antimicrobial Copper web site.