The Science of Copper
Every claim we make about our product and copper in general is backed up by hard evidence and you can verify all this information by clicking on the studies we have provided you with below or surf the web for yourself.
Copper and its alloys are natural antimicrobial materials. Ancient civilizations exploited the antimicrobial properties of copper long before the concept of microbes became understood in the nineteenth century.
Scientists are actively demonstrating the intrinsic efficacy of copper or copper alloy “touch surfaces” to destroy a wide range of microorganisms that threaten public health. Copper has an inherent ability to kill a wide range of harmful microbes rapidly – often within two hours or less – and with a high degree of efficiency. These antimicrobial properties have been demonstrated by an extensive body of research over the years.
Copper officially was recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the first effective metallic antimicrobial agent only in 2008 and since then more than 400 copper alloys have been registered.
When a virus or bacteria strikes coppers surface, it’s flooded with copper ions. Those ions penetrate cells and viruses like bullets. The copper doesn’t just kill these pathogens; it destroys them, right down to the nucleic acids, or reproductive blueprints, inside. There’s no chance of mutation or evolution because all the genes are being destroyed and that’s one of the real benefits of copper.
Bacteria exposed to copper provide survival systems only for a few minutes before undergoing cell death. No complete resistance to survive in prolonged exposure with copper has been found. Exposure to copper destroyed the viral genomes and irreversibly affected virus morphology, including disintegration of envelope and dispersal of surface spikes.
The mechanism of bacterial death on copper surfaces is complex, involving not only direct action of copper ion on multiple targets but also the generation of destructive oxygen radicals, resulting in “metabolic suicide”.
Copper can be formed into various useful configurations while maintaining its antimicrobial properties. For the most part, the bacterial kill rate of copper alloys is increased with increasing copper content of the alloy. This is further evidence of copper’s intrinsic antibacterial properties.
Copper surfaces have been found to have a ‘halo’ effect on surrounding non-copper materials, helping to reduce the presence of bacteria in even the vicinity of copper. This ‘halo’ effect was first noticed during earlier trials at a US outpatient clinic in 2010. Further research showed that copper exerted a ‘halo’ effect, with non-copper surfaces up to 50cm away also exhibiting a reduction of bacteria of around 70% compared to surfaces not in such close proximity.
Respiratory Viruses (Coronaviruses)
Respiratory viruses are responsible for more deaths globally than any other infectious agent. Incorporation of copper surfaces in our everyday lives in conjunction with effective cleaning and hygiene regimens could help to control transmission of respiratory coronaviruses.
Ineffective cleaning agents may leave residual particles that can initiate infection. The use of biocidal surfaces may help to reduce the incidence of infections spread by touching contaminated surfaces. Copper alloys have demonstrated excellent antibacterial and antifungal activity against a range of pathogens in laboratory studies.
Rapid inactivation of human coronavirus occurs on brass and copper nickel surfaces at room temperature (21°C). Brasses containing at least 70% copper are very effective at inactivating coronaviruses, and the rate of inactivation is directly proportional to the percentage of copper in the alloy.
Inactivation of coronavirus on copper and copper alloy surfaces results in fragmentation of the viral genome, ensuring that inactivation is irreversible. Exposure to copper surfaces results in morphological change to human coronavirus particles visible in transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Release of copper ionic species is essential to the efficacy of copper surfaces in killing bacteria and inactivating norovirus. Using chelators (small molecules that bind very tightly to metal ions), it has been determined that Cu(I) and Cu(II) are also essential for inactivation of coronaviruses.
Rapid damage is caused, including clumping, breakage, membrane damage, and loss of surface spikes, to the coronavirus particles following exposure to copper, and some particles appeared smaller and seemed to have lost rigidity, folding up on themselves. These changes were not observed with virus recovered from stainless steel surfaces. Therefore, incorporation of copper alloys in our daily lives could help to reduce infection spread from touching surfaces contaminated with coronaviruses.
Incorporation of even a few copper surfaces may have an impact in effectively reducing transmission of infectious material from a surface to an individual, provided that stringent, regular, and effective cleaning regimens are employed for all surfaces. The use of copper does not serve as an excuse to relax cleaning regimens.