New Uses for Copper Found in Hospitals
Copper has been used for years as an architectural element on both the interior and exterior of buildings. However, in recent years people are finding new uses for copper in settings never before imagined. One of the most interesting of these uses is in hospitals, where the sterile properties of copper are proving even more useful than we ever could have known.
Hospital Infections & Sterility Concerns
Sterility is a major concern in hospitals, where infections are a very serious problem. The CDC estimates that approximately 2 million people contract infections each year as a result of contact with a virus in a hospital environment, and that these infections are the fourth leading killer of Americans. That means that more people die of infections they got in a hospital than of HIV and breast cancer together!
As such, hospitals are constantly working to keep areas free of germs. Both staff and visitors are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, and surfaces are cleaned regularly with anti-bacterial cleaning solutions in an effort to combat the deadly spread of germs.
A naturally perfect solution
Recently, it has been discovered that copper is a very hostile environment to microbes; that is, small organisms that spread disease cannot survive for long on a copper surface. In light of this important discovery, hospitals have begun replacing stainless steel and plastic fixtures with copper ones, including counter tops, touch plates, faucets and taps.
Initially this was done on an experimental scale, but when researchers saw the dramatic decrease in infections the copper fixtures have been installed wherever there is room in the budget to do so. Copper has been more successful than any other realistic means of sterilizing these areas with a high potential for spreading infection.
Copper fixtures in hospitals offer the potential to reduce the risks associated with being admitted to these facilities and improve the outcomes for many patients. Copper is truly changing the way people work!