The antimicrobial properties of copper have been touted for centuries ever since ancient peoples first wore the brilliant metal. Today, as we face heightened health concerns that run from chronic arthritis to circulating viruses, we’ve been asked to share a compendium of information on the topic.
“Copper and its alloys (brasses, bronzes, cupronickel, copper-nickel-zinc, and others) are natural antimicrobial materials. Ancient civilizations exploited the antimicrobial properties of copper long before the concept of microbes became understood in the nineteenth century.
The antimicrobial properties of copper are still under active investigation. Molecular mechanisms responsible for the antibacterial action of copper have been a subject of intensive research. Scientists are also actively demonstrating the intrinsic efficacy of copper alloy "touch surfaces" to destroy a wide range of microorganisms that threaten public health.” Read more …
Metallic Copper as an Antimicrobial Surface
“Bacteria, yeasts, and viruses are rapidly killed on metallic copper surfaces, and the term “contact killing” has been coined for this process. While the phenomenon was already known in ancient times, it is currently receiving renewed attention. This is due to the potential use of copper as an antibacterial material in health care settings. Contact killing was observed to take place at a rate of at least 7 to 8 logs per hour, and no live microorganisms were generally recovered from copper surfaces after prolonged incubation. The antimicrobial activity of copper and copper alloys is now well established, and copper has recently been registered at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the first solid antimicrobial material.” Read more …
Rediscovering Copper Properties
Old records show that over 500 years ago, the Aztec civilization treated sore throats by gargling with a copper mixture. Earlier yet, in India, Persia, and Egypt, copper was used to treat lung diseases and skin conditions. In the 1800s, European physicians were using copper to treat arthritic patients. Research in the 1900s added the beneficial roles of copper compounds for mental and heart health. Read more ...
Copper Destroys Viruses and Bacteria. Why Isn't It Everywhere?
"Today, we have insight into why a person handling copper day in and day out would have protection from a bacterial threat: Copper is antimicrobial. It kills bacteria and viruses, sometimes within minutes. In the 19th century, exposure to copper would have been an early version of constantly sanitizing one's hands.
Since then, studies have shown that copper is able to destroy the microbes that most threaten our lives. It has been shown to kill a long list of microbes including norovirus, MRSA, a staph bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics, virulent strains of E. coli that cause food-borne illness, and coronaviruses—possibly including the novel strain currently causing the COVID-19 pandemic."
Copper Can Destroy Respiratory Viruses
“Hospital administrators should take a new look at copper, new research suggests, with evidence emerging that the metal can halt the spread of a wide array of diseases. Long before Pasteur invented the germ theory of disease, copper, and alloys such as brass, were touted as protectors against ill health. While many such pre-scientific remedies have failed rigorous testing, copper has been demonstrated to be a powerful antibiotic. Read more …
The molecular mechanisms responsible for the antibacterial action of copper are still being studied by our scientists and we are not aware of research being done yet regarding the antimicrobial properties of wearing a copper bracelet.