AHE Attendees Discover the Easy Benefits of Antimicrobial Copper

Antimicrobial copper touch surfaces installed at Pullman Regional Hospital in Washington.
05 Nov 2015
Photo: Antimicrobial copper touch surfaces installed at Pullman Regional Hospital in Washington.


By Adam Estelle, Project Engineer for the Copper Development Association

Environmental services personnel are always looking for the most effective cleaning products on the market. At the recent Association for the Healthcare Environment Exchange (AHE) conference, I had a chance to talk to these professionals tasked with keeping the healthcare environment clean about the unique advantages of antimicrobial copper.

The annual event brought together over 600 environmental services personnel, infection preventionists, facility managers and many other healthcare professionals from all over the world to learn about the latest breakthroughs in cleaning and disinfection products and solutions.

To my satisfaction, chatter about antimicrobial copper began among many of the attendees prior to visiting my 10×10 tabletop display which featured peer-reviewed studies and product samples. I think a lot of the credit is due to Peter Sharpe, an expert on evidence based design and antimicrobial copper, whose presentation at AHE focused on integrating copper-based surfaces to help reduce harmful bacteria in between routine cleanings.

However, many event attendees did not know how easy antimicrobial copper components are to clean and maintain. I was asked by multiple attendees, “How do you clean it?  What will it look like?”

While the science behind antimicrobial copper’s properties may appear complicated, the cleaning methods needed to maintain its appearance and effectiveness are simple. Copper surfaces are cared for the same way as traditional surface materials installed at hospitals and are compatible with all EPA registered disinfectants. Routine cleaning is still necessary, but that’s all it takes for the surfaces to kill bacteria continuously in between cleanings. No additional staff training or special cleaning products are required.

After explaining copper’s simplicity, compelling evidence, and the many hospitals that are already using it, AHE attendees were clearly impressed.  I hope to see more hospitals take the next step and adopt antimicrobial copper surfaces after this year’s show.


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