Germ-slaughtering copper to be employed as disease-resistant building material

An alumnus of the University of Arizona is promoting the use of copper alloys as hygienic, alternative construction materials in the healthcare sector.

Adam Estelle, a graduate of the University of Arizona's College of Engineering, is working with the Copper Development Association to apply copper's anti-microbial capabilities to the construction of furnishings and fixtures in hospitals and other areas where infectious diseases are readily spread.

The anti-microbial properties of certain copper alloys make them ideal materials for use in the construction of frequently handled items which can serve as key transmission points for malignant viruses and germs.

According to a recent University of Arizona study 99.9% of microorganisms on the surface of alloys consisting of at least 60% copper perish within two hours. The comparable figure for stainless steel is roughly two weeks.

Estelle and his colleagues have already obtained EPA certification attesting to copper's anti-microbial powers, as well as helped to retrofit a Charleton-based Ronald McDonald house with copper alloy sinks, railings, faucets and chairs.