Antimicrobial Copper Jun06


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Antimicrobial Copper

Cruise Ships and Norovirus: How Copper Can Keep You Healthy on the Open Seas

Commonly contracted on cruise ships, a new study proves that antibiotic-resistant norovirus is no match for Antimicrobial Copper touch surfaces.

NEW YORK, June 6, 2013 — Designed as the ultimate getaway, cruise ships attract millions of vacationers each year. For days—or even weeks—cruise ship passengers can enjoy the feel of a luxurious resort in the middle of the sea while traveling around the world. However, confined space, constant interaction with other guests, and shared dining quarters put passengers at risk for contracting and possibly spreading norovirus, a virus especially difficult to control in such a setting. Without any specific treatment or vaccines available, the best solution may be to install copper fixtures and hardware.

Responsible for more than 267 million cases of acute gastroenteritis worldwide each year, norovirus can be contracted from contaminated food or water, human touch and contact with contaminated surfaces. Although healthcare facilities are the most commonly reported settings for norovirus outbreaks in the United States, over 90% of diarrheal disease outbreaks on cruise ships are caused by this germ. In 2012 alone, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported over 3,000 cases of norovirus among cruise ships.

But, how does copper help? A recent study conducted by Professor Bill Keevil, Chair in Environmental Healthcare at the University of Southampton in the U.K., demonstrated that norovirus was rapidly killed on copper and copper-alloy surfaces as a result of antimicrobial properties in the metal.  Taking his findings to the U.S., Keevil presented his study at the 2013 America Society of Microbiology annual meeting in Denver, CO earlier this year.

In the United States, 27 million people contract norovirus each year, resulting in 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping caused by inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

“What makes norovirus difficult to control is the fact that it is resistant to many disinfectants,” said Harold Michels, Senior Vice President of Technology and Technical Services at the Copper Development Association. “These high-risk areas, such as cruise ships, should turn to copper-alloy surfaces, which can lower the chance of an outbreak.”

Antimicrobial Copper has been scientifically proven to continuously kill more than 99.9%* of bacteria within two hours of exposure including: MRSA, Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), Staphylococcus aureusEnterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7.  The addition of copper surfaces can help make any cruise safer.

“To date, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered more than 400 copper based alloys—such as brass and bronze—as public health antimicrobial products,” said Michels. “From doorknobs to armrests, copper products represent a breakthrough in terms of human health.”

In fact, another recently published study in the SHEA Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology has revealed that the use of Antimicrobial Copper surfaces in hospital rooms can reduce the number of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) by 58% as compared to patients treated in Intensive Care Units with non-copper touch surfaces, making the case for hospitals to install Antimicrobial Copper products to engineer safety into their patient care.

For more information about the benefits of Antimicrobial Copper, please visit

About the Copper Development Association
The Copper Development Association Inc. is the market development, engineering and information services arm of the copper industry, chartered to enhance and expand markets for copper and its alloys in North America. Learn more on our blog. Follow us on Twitter.

About Antimicrobial Copper
* Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, Antimicrobial Copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7. Antimicrobial Copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices.

EPA approval for public health claims. In the U.S., after many years of research, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered more than 400 copper based alloys, such as brass and bronze, as public health antimicrobial products.  Antimicrobial Copper is the only class of solid touch surfaces registered by the EPA to continuously kill 6 bacteria that cause infections and pose a risk to human health.

Copper is the active, microbe killing ingredient. Antimicrobial Copper isn’t just pure copper. It’s shorthand for a host of copper based metals (or alloys) that can go head-to-head with stainless steel in terms of strength, durability and aesthetics.  In addition to their antimicrobial properties, copper alloys are:

  • Durable & recyclable
  • Wear-resistant
  • Can stand up to harsh environments
  • Can retain details and finish over time
  • Available in a range of colors

Learn more at, or follow us on Twitter at @AntimicrobialCu.

Kathleen Fletcher

SOURCE Copper Development Association