In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Copper Development Association (CDA) developed the following position statement to address an influx of inquiries from the media and external stakeholders.
- Media reports and public inquiries to CDA have noted several independent studies reporting antimicrobial efficacy of uncoated copper and copper alloy surfaces against human pathogens, including one strain of coronavirus (HuCoV-229E) reported in mBio by Warnes et al (citation: https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01697-15).
- There also has been widespread media coverage of a recent U.S. government-funded study conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, remained viable for up to 2 to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces vs. up to 4 hours on copper (citation: https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMc2004973).
- All antimicrobial products marketed and sold in the U.S. are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the products are safe to use, and that advertising claims about protecting public health, and efficacy against specific pathogens, are supported by rigorous testing under EPA-approved protocols.
- Copper alloy materials are registered by EPA (Reg. Nos. 82012-1 to 6) to make public health claims against six specific bacteria* (e.g. continuously kills >99.9% of MRSA within 2 hours of contact between routine cleanings). Considering the limited evidence against SARS-CoV-2 referenced above, further testing would be required to assess the effectiveness of copper surfaces, and to support EPA-registered product label claims against SARS-CoV-2.
- CDA is committed to fulfilling its EPA-mandated Stewardship obligations established to convey accurate information to the public and the infection control community about the efficacy and proper use and care of copper alloy materials. Copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices.
- CDA is committed to supporting the appropriate government agencies and public health officials that express interest in evaluating the potential for copper alloy surfaces to supplement first-line defense measures against COVID-19 including social distancing, practicing proper hand hygiene and routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces with EPA-registered disinfectants.
- For more information on the antimicrobial properties of copper alloys and EPA registration, visit: www.copperalloystewardship.com.
*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, uncoated copper alloy surfaces kill >99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7. Copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination or infections; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices.