Copper 'halo' effect found

15th of October 2010
Copper 'halo' effect found

The results of a pilot study at a clinic in the US show that, as well as reducing surface microbial contamination by 90 per cent, antimicrobial copper surfaces extend a ‘halo effect’ to nearby, non-copper surfaces, reducing their contamination levels too.

Phlebotomy chairs at the clinic were fitted with copper trays and arms and surface contamination measured, showing a 90 per cent reduction in contamination compared to that on standard surfaces. In addition a microbiocidal ‘halo effect’ was discovered, equating to a 70 per cent reduction in contamination on the adjacent, non-copper surfaces of the chairs compared to controls.

The majority of samples from the chairs with copper components were below a level thought to represent a risk to the patient, while the majority of samples collected from the non-copper chairs were above this level.

It is well known that micro-organisms can survive for extended periods of time on common healthcare touch surfaces in the patient environment. Bed rails, call buttons and over-bed tables have been demonstrated to be among the worst offenders. This latest study focused on an outpatient facility for the first time, where the high volume of potentially infected people with much more mobility than hospital patients increases the opportunity for cross-contamination.

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