In order to obtain the only EPA public health registration for a touch surface material, antimicrobial copper alloys had to demonstrate efficacy under rigorous, EPA-approved test protocols.
The three EPA approved Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) test protocols used to register antimicrobial copper with public health claims are:
- Efficacy as a Sanitizer-which measures viable bacterial count after two hours
- The graph below shows that starting with an initial concentration of approximately 14 million Colony Forming Units (CFUs) of the antibiotic resistant bacteria* MRSA, that within two hours of exposure to a copper surface, virtually all were killed.
- Over the same time period, nearly two thirds or the MRSA exposed to the stainless steel control remained viable more than 8 million CFUs
- Although stainless steel has been the material of choice of hospitals for years because of its "clean look", it has no inherent abilities to kill bacteria.
- Tests have been continued for 28 days, and bacteria* remained on the stainless steel surfaces for the duration.
- Residual Self-Sanitizing Activity- which measures bacterial count before and after six wet and dry wear cycles during which bacteria* are added in a standard wear apparatus
The graph below shows that within these wet and dry abrasion cycles:
- 99.99% of MRSA has been killed on copper alloy (bronze) surfaces.
- More than 1.3 million CFU's of bacteria* remain on stainless steel.
- Shows that the "effective agent" will not wear away (like a silver coating). CuVerro's® bactericidal effectiveness lasts the life of the product.
- Continuous Reduction of Bacterial Contaminants-which measures bacteria* after inoculating an alloy surface eight times in a 24-hour period without intermediate cleaning or wiping.
- In this test, 640,000 CFU of MRSA were inoculated on copper alloys and within two hours, all were killed.
- Without cleaning surface, seven additional inoculations were performed (totaling 5 million CFU) and each time the copper alloy surfaces killed virtually all of the bacteria.
- This test shows that even after repeated contamination and without disinfecting** surfaces in between, copper surfaces are continually effective in killing MRSA bacteria* over the course of a 24 hour day while bacteria* on stainless steel continues to grow over the same period of time.
- This test as all tests that EPA conducted used stainless steel as the control.
*Testing demonstrates effective antibacterial activity against: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7
** The EPA requires users to continue to follow all current infection control practices, including those practices related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces. EPA Test 3 was conducted only to illustrate the effect on the efficacy of CuVerro surfaces that were not cleaned and exposed to repeated contaminations of large amounts of bacteria* throughout a 24 hour period