Copper Air Quality Program

Congress Funds Testing of Copper's Ability to Kill Harmful Pathogens

In 2005, the U.S. Congress began appropriating funds for two programs studying the antimicrobial properties of copper alloys. The first study relates to touch surfaces found in healthcare facilities which are a potential means of cross-contamination. The objective is to help reduce the measure of pathogens in those environments and ultimately stem the rate of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). The second relates to indoor air quality and the potential for copper-based components of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to kill harmful microbes, including molds and harmful bacteria.

Following detailed planning and review, two programs were launched in 2007 under the auspices of the Telemedicine and Advanced Technologies Research Center (TATRC), a section of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), which manages Congressional Special Interest extramural research programs encompassing technology research areas.

The study proposals were initiated by the Copper Development Association. ATI, an affiliate of SCRA, of Charleston, South Carolina, directs the program on behalf of TATRC/USAMRMC.

Partners in the indoor air quality/HVAC study include: University of South Carolina; Medical University of South Carolina; Albrecht Environmental; Piedmont Metals, LLC; BCS, Inc.; Copper Development Association and ATI.

Read more about the Copper Air Quality Program Study

close up of microscope

Program Background

Microbial growth in heating ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and their contamination of the indoor air environment is a growing concern.
petri dishes

Research Information

The Copper Air Quality Program consists of four phases.
antimicrobial copper containers

Antimicrobial Property of Copper

Copper and its alloys (brasses, bronzes, copper nickels, copper nickel zincs, and others) are naturally antimicrobial materials.
This program is based upon work supported by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract No. W81XWH-07-C-0054. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity.