Study shows copper in gym equipment reduces bacteria

20th of November 2017
Study shows copper in gym equipment reduces bacteria

Dumbbells, weights and grip attachments made from copper alloy can significantly reduce the bacteria loading on gym equipment, according to a study.

Experts believe the findings could help to reduce the number of community-acquired infections caused by cross-contamination in leisure facilities.

Gym equipment such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, specialty dumbbells and grip attachments made from copper alloy were installed at Iowa's Grinnell College Athletic Centre as part of a 16-month US study. "Control" gym equipment was used alongside it.

All grips were cleaned according to the centre's protocol which meant that antibacterial wipes were used on machines, benches and bars. High-touch areas were swabbed during open hours and immediately after closing while users were also encouraged to wipe down their own equipment.

The study revealed that bacterial numbers were 94 per cent lower on the copper alloy grips compared with the control grips.

"Grip surfaces in athletic centres present an ideal environment for microbes to persist and spread," said associate professor of biology at Grinnell College Shannon Hinsa-Leasure. "We demonstrated that copper alloys excel at reducing bacteria in the athletic centre environment."

Outbreaks of MRSA infections have recently become more common in athletic centres according to reports. MRSA and other pathogens can survive for weeks on many dry surfaces whereas copper alloy is said to kill most bacteria within two hours.

"In this high traffic environment with students, faculty and staff from all over the world utilising the same equipment, installing copper alloy grips is a simple way to enhance the cleaning protocol of our athletic centre," said Hinsa-Leasure.



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