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Copper worktops and their germ-killing powers

29 June 2020

A recent clinical study that indicates copper is far better than other common materials at preventing the spread of infectious diseases has caught the public’s attention amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The National Institutes of Health, Centre’s for Disease Control and Prevention and Princeton University reported in The New England Journal of Medicine this week that COVID-19 was “detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.”

The reason copper is antimicrobial is complicated, but chemist Vikram Kanmukhla offered a simple explanation. “All living organisms require copper to live,” said, Kanmukhla, Director of Material Services for Cupron Inc., a Henrico-based company. Humans need copper in their diets, and microorganisms also need a tiny amount, he said. If germs such as bacteria, viruses and fungi contact large amounts of copper, they overdose, the cell walls rupture, and the organisms die.

One study at a Norfolk-area (USA) hospital showed a 28 percent reduction in the infection rate using copper-infused bed linens, patient gowns and countertops, according to Sharon Oakley, Cupron’s Director of Marketing Technology. More studies are under way. Oakley explained that, with an infection like MRSA, which can easily move throughout a hospital, it is important to keep the infection from spreading. MRSA is caused by a type of bacterium that becomes resistant to the antibiotics used to treat it. Germs need copper so they can’t avoid taking it in. This means they don’t become resistant to copper-infused material, as often happens with common antibacterial and antiviral medicines. “A patient who contracts MRSA sheds the microorganisms into the environment,” Oakley said. For this reason, copper-infused bed linens and patient gowns can be the first line of defense to keep infection under control.

Copper-infused bed linens feel like regular blankets and sheets, are just as durable and can be laundered like regular bed linens. “The cost of these bed linens is usually no more than 15 to 20 percent higher than regular linens,” Oakley said. “There are no reports of adverse effects to people” resulting from contact with items infused with copper, she added.

The Kitchen Bureau is proud to supply a range of copper worktops, sinks and other copper kitchen appliances. We are also the only showroom in the country with a copper worktop on display in our showroom. Give us a call today on 02922 405 580 to make a showroom appointment.

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