Why brass, bronze, and copper, are used
Laboratory testing has shown that copper and its alloys, brass and bronze, kill more than 99.9 percent of bacteria*, such as the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, within two hours. What this means in the real world is that high-traffic touch surfaces in schools, hospitals, and public facilities of all kinds, can be made inherently antimicrobial (as long as they are cleaned regularly of dirt or residue that can prevent contact with the surface).
Cross-contamination of bacteria and viruses is how 80 percent of illnesses are spread. When someone with a cold or the flu sneezes or coughs into his hand and then opens a door, the next person to touch that doorknob runs the risk of becoming infected. Frequent hand washing is important to reducing the risk of transmitting germs; another tool is to make the surface antimicrobial. Door handles, push plates, countertops and other frequently touched fixtures are commonly made of stainless steel, aluminum or plastic – materials that can harbor pathogens for days, even weeks, until they are disinfected, usually with harsh chemicals. Surfaces made of uncoated copper, brass or bronze, however, begin neutralizing bacteria* immediately, killing more than 99.9% within two hours. The use of copper products in public facilities is opening a new line of defense against the unbridled growth of infectious organisms*.
* The Environmental Protection Agency has registered copper, brass and bronze as antimicrobial and is allowing public health claims to be made about their effectiveness against Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, E. coli O157:H7, Enterobacter aerogenes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Copper alloys are a supplement to existing infection control practices and are not a replacement for good hygiene and surface disinfection. Copper alloy surfaces have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but they do not necessarily prevent cross-contamination. Cu