Historic Antimicrobial Uses of Copper
Copper and its alloys (brasses, bronzes, copper nickels, copper nickel zincs, and others) are inherently antimicrobial materials. Man exploited the antimicrobial attributes of copper long before the nineteenth century, when Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease which states that infections are caused by microbes invading the human body. Egyptians used copper drinking vessels to sterilize water. The Hippocrates Collection, 460 to 380 B.C., to which the father of medicine contributed, recommends the use of copper for leg ulcers related to varicose veins. Pliny, 23 to 79 A.D., used copper oxide with honey to treat intestinal worms. The Aztecs gargled with a mixture containing copper to treat sore throats.
In light of this history, modern researchers began exploring the antimicrobial properties of copper in a variety of settings. A recent study compared bacteria levels in water stored in brass (a copper alloy) vessels traditionally used in rural India to the water stored in earthenware vessels. In a 1983 study, bacteria levels were examined on brass and stainless steel doorknobs in a hospital. The results of these studies led researchers to initiate controlled studies using EPA-approved test protocols to qualify scientifically the antimicrobial properties of copper.
A nice Slide Show can be seen here: Link Here
U.S. EPA-approved testing demonstrates that, when cleaned regularly, Antimicrobial Copper Alloys kill 99.9% of the organisms listed below within two hours. Any reference to effectiveness against other organisms has not been proven by U.S. EPA-approved testing.
Antimicrobial Copper Alloys are not registered or approved by U.S. EPA or FDA forcontrolling disease or the transmission of bacteria that can cause disease in humans. Copper alloy surface materials have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but they do not necessarily prevent cross contamination.
Antimicrobial Copper Alloys are a supplement to and not a substitute for good hygienic practices; users must continueto follow routine cleaning and disinfection practices.
Antimicrobial Copper Alloys are not approved for use in food-contact or drinkingwater applications.