International Copper Association

Antimicrobial copper product directory launched at MEDICA

Antimicrobial Copper Product Directory

A directory covering the full range of antimicrobial copper products currently on the market has been launched at the MEDICA trade fair.

Harnessing the inherent germ-killing properties of copper and its alloys, the touch surface products within can be installed in areas where infection prevention is a concern, offering an additional line of defence against disease-causing bacteria and viruses that can live for days or even months on non-copper surfaces. As hospitals seek new ways to address the problem of healthcare-associated infections, this directory has been assembled as a quick and easy reference for architects, facility managers and others wishing to source and specify antimicrobial copper surfaces.

With an estimated 80% of infections spread by touch, frequently-used surfaces such as door handles and push plates, taps, light switches and work tops can become reservoirs of infection, harbouring pathogens deposited by one person that can then be picked up by another. Whilst frequent hand washing and surface cleaning and disinfection are the pillars of infection control, it is nearly impossible to keep hands and surfaces completely germ free. This is where a surface that continuously kills germs, 24-7 and in between regular cleans, can offer additional protection against the spread of infection.

Copper has been proven to kill a wide range of bacteria (including MRSA and C. difficile) and rapidly inactivate viruses (such as Influenza A and norovirus), and it shares this benefit with many copper alloys including brass and bronze. This family of hygienic materials is collectively called 'antimicrobial copper', and touch surfaces from solid antimicrobial copper can help to break the chain of infection and provide a safer environment for those vulnerable to infection.

The product directory is divided into seven sections: Service Providers (who offer full consultation, specification and installation services), Air Conditioning, Architectural Hardware, Electrical Switches, Medical Equipment and Furniture, Sanitary Fittings and Miscellanea. Between them, these cover surfaces including bed rails, door furniture, grab rails, IV poles, light switches, medical gas units, overbed tables and taps. Many are designed with the healthcare sector in mind, but items such as architectural hardware and sanitary fittings are more broadly applicable and can be used in transport hubs and other public spaces where people gather and infections can spread.

In order to be included in the directory, companies must be approved under an industry stewardship scheme operated by International Copper Association, Ltd and its global network of non-profit Copper Centres. This indicates that their products and services employ approved antimicrobial copper alloys, and that they adhere to strict usage rules which guide their understanding of the underlying technology and the way they promote, advise and deploy it in line with existing research, regulatory and legislative requirements. Such companies are permitted to use the Antimicrobial Copper logo and Cu+ mark to identify their approved antimicrobial copper products and services.

Products are available in a variety of colours, from the red of copper through the golds and browns of brass and bronze, right up to silver-coloured alloys with the appearance of stainless steel. Thanks to the range of companies, representing countries around the world, different styles are also available to suit varying design requirements.

Printed copies of the directory are available on Stand B03 in Hall 14 at MEDICA, and a PDF can be viewed and downloaded in the Products and Services section of www.antimicrobialcopper.org.