Copper is antibacterial
It has been known for thousands of years that copper is antibacterial.
Practitioners in the ancient art of Ayurvedic medicine documented the use of copper for various local and internal treatments, and as the preferred material for medical storage and surgical instruments.
Now that superbugs are developing resistance to pharmaceutical-grade antibiotics, copper is attracting renewed interest and is the subject of further research.
Copper kills bacteria on contact
While we know many chemicals that can kill disease-causing bacteria such as bleach and alcohol, copper has a unique ability to destroy these pathogens on contact without any other special treatment or application, or side effects.
This means that anything made of copper or coated with copper such as door handles, etc. will be used as a passive disinfectant that will continuously kill any bacteria in contact with the copper surface, for example contact with the skin.
This type of passive disinfectant reduces the management time and costs of cleaning and disinfecting hospital surfaces. The extraordinary antibacterial property of copper also extends to copper alloys, such as brass and bronze.
Copper and copper alloys are also very resistant to corrosion.
Copper is a much less expensive metal than silver or gold, but it is the most important of all when it comes to our health. It can be used on surfaces and objects with high contact, which usually contain high concentrations of bacteria.
While hospital staff for example must be constantly vigilant with disinfection methods to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases to their patients, they can take solace in the knowledge that copper is antibacterial,
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) estimates that hospital-acquired infections cost billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives each year.
One of the reasons why the spread of bacterial infections is so difficult to control is that bacteria multiply and evolve rapidly to produce new strains ("superbugs") that have become resistant to conventional antiseptics and medical treatment.
Use of copper in homes
Storing drinking water overnight in a copper pot kills bacteria and is a simple water purification strategy, which explains why copper has been used for thousands of years to store water.
The antibacterial properties of copper contribute greatly to sustainable, low-cost, life-saving solutions.
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