Considerable research has gone into developing anti-microbial surfaces. Professor Tom Elliott, consultant Microbiologist at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UK), has said the following in relation to copper:
“Self-disinfecting surfaces such as copper are a significant step forward in reducing infection-causing microbial bioloads on clinical surfaces. We should now ask the question: why select a non-antimicrobial surface when we now know that some naturally-occurring metals, such as copper, have this intrinsic antimicrobial activity.”
Professor Elliot’s team have found that taps, door handles, light switches and dressings trolleys that were made from copper and copper alloys benefited from the metal’s natural antimicrobial activity and had greater than 90% less microbial contamination on them than the same items on the same ward made from conventional materials. This finding has since been confirmed by results from US and Chilean studies.
For more on this subject, see Cleanroom Technology.