The Science Behind Copper
Long before the discovery of penicillin, copper was preventing infection and saving lives. That’s because it interferes with the cellular structure of microbes like everyday cold and flu viruses, hospital-induced MRSA and more. While being chemical-free and all-natural, StayWell™ copper kills 99.97% of germs on contact. Here are several articles and references to give you in-depth information about copper’s germ-killing power.
The History of Copper
Since ancient times, healers have understood the role of copper in supporting and maintaining good health. For example, the ancient Egyptians used copper to sterilize their drinking water, cure headaches, and help with skin conditions. In addition, in approximately 400 B.C., the Greek Hippocrates, who is known as the father of modern medicine (and after whom the “Hippocratic oath” is named), recommended copper as a treatment for various diseases. (copperh2o).
Even today practices like ayurveda recommend storing water in copper vessels, ancient seers in India recognized that copper conducts heats and energy, so they made yantras out of thin copper (sankriti). Copper has been around for centuries, the most common story we hear nowadays is our great grandfathers and grandmothers using copper bracelets for arthritis, but copper does so much more than that.
In 2008 Copper was recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the first metallic antimicrobial agent (SFAM).
Copper Kills on Contact
Bacteria are rapidly killed on copper surfaces, and copper ions released from the surface have been proposed to play a major role in the killing process. Copper and many copper alloys have consequently been registered at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the first solid antimicrobial material. This has moved copper into the focus of infection control (ASM).
How does it work? Copper inactivate’s a variety of pathogens by interacting with oxygen and modifying oxygen molecules. In bacteria, this disrupts the outer layer, damaging the genetic material and cell machinery, which can lead to cell death (washingtonpost).
The Halo Effect of Copper
The impact of copper surfaces has been found to have a ‘halo’ effect on surrounding non-copper materials, helping to reduce the presence of bacteria in healthcare environments, new research has found. This ‘halo’ effect was first noticed during earlier trials at a US outpatient clinic in 2010.
Now further research carried out in the neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) at Aghia Sofia Children’s Hospital in Greece shows that, as well as contamination being 90% lower on copper surfaces, they also exert a ‘halo’ effect, with non-copper surfaces up to 50cm away also exhibiting a reduction of around 70% compared to surfaces not in such close proximity. (BBH)
Copper in Hospitals
A number of hospital trials in which rooms have been fitted with copper alloy door handles, bathroom fixtures, tabletops, etc., have been conducted or are ongoing.. They have shown that on copper surfaces, there is a substantial reduction of the microbial burden on a continuous basis. While further data is needed, it is clear that copper-containing materials can contribute to hospital hygiene, but they also lower the bacterial burden in other facilities where clean or aseptic working procedures are required (ASM).
Read more about the science of copper in articles and news below:
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