In a world first, Bezannes – a town in Northern France – has installed antimicrobial copper door handles and stair rails in its city hall, social welfare institution and cultural centre, as well as a primary school. These hygienic surfaces will help protect the health of everyone using the facilities, and are intended as a symbol of the town’s readiness to innovate and improve.
Copper is a powerful antimicrobial with rapid, broad-spectrum efficacy against bacteria and viruses, including MRSA, E.coli and norovirus. It shares this benefit with a range of copper alloys – such as brasses and bronzes – forming a family of materials collectively called ‘antimicrobial copper’. In hospital trials, antimicrobial copper surfaces have been found to harbour >80% less contamination than non-copper surfaces.
Bezannes’ Municipal Team chose high-traffic facilities, of the sort where infections can spread rapidly between users, to receive the new copper hardware, supplied by local company Steriall.
‘We can’t ask local investors to innovate whilst doing nothing ourselves,’ explains Bezannes Mayor Jean-Pierre Belfie. ‘We have to be an actor in development. We want to close the door on infections and care for our children, teachers, administrative personnel and visitors.’
With over 160 students, Sylvain Lambert Primary School is also pleased with the added protection of its new antimicrobial copper surfaces.
Professor Sophie Gangloff, of the University of Reims’ Microbiology Department, notes: ‘As we know, germs can survive for days or even months on frequently-touched surfaces, and whilst regular cleaning of hands and surfaces can limit the transmission of these germs, they’re not enough to protect everybody. Consequently, antimicrobial copper is very interesting for public spaces and hospitals, even more so thanks to its efficacy against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
‘Installing these antimicrobial copper surfaces at the school will reduce the amount of germs being passed between children and their teachers, decreasing the number of infections among them. This will also have an impact on parents!’
Touch surfaces made from solid antimicrobial copper are already used by airports, train stations and healthcare facilities around the world to reduce the spread of infections, supporting key infection control measures such as good hand hygiene and regular surface cleaning and disinfection.
For more information on antimicrobial copper, visit www.antimicrobialcopper.org.