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Copper Kills Hospital Superbugs


#1

[An article from the online version of the London-based paper the
Daily Mail
(link at bottom)]

“Copper door handles and taps kill 95% of superbugs in hospitals”

By Fiona Macrae, the Daily Mail (UK)
29th October 2008

Making door handles, taps and light switches from copper could
help the country beat superbugs, scientists say.

A study found that copper fittings rapidly killed bugs on
hospital wards, succeeding where other infection control measures
failed.

In the trial at Selly Oak hospital, in Birmingham, copper taps,
toilet seats and push plates on doors all but eliminated common
bugs.

It is thought the metal ‘suffocates’ germs, preventing them
breathing. It may also stop them from feeding and destroy their
DNA.

Lab tests show that the metal kills off the deadly MRSA and C
difficile superbugs.

It also kills other dangerous germs, including the flu virus and
the E coli food poisoning bug.

Although the number of cases of MRSA and C difficile is falling,
the two bugs still claim thousands of lives a year.

During the ten-week trial on a medical ward, a set of taps, a
lavatory seat and a push plate on an entrance door were replaced
with copper versions. They were swabbed twice a day for bugs and
the results compared with a traditional tap, lavatory seat and
push plate elsewhere in the ward.

The copper items had up to 95 per cent fewer bugs on their
surface whenever they were tested, a U.S. conference on
antibiotics heard yesterday.

Professor Tom Elliott, the lead researcher and a consultant
microbiologist at the hospital, said: 'The findings of 90 to 95
per cent killing of those organisms, even after a busy day on a
medical ward with items being touched by numerous people, is
remarkable.

'I have been a consultant microbiologist for several decades.
This is the first time I have seen anything like copper in terms
of the effect it will have in the environment.

‘It may well offer us another mechanism for trying to defeat the
spread of infection.’

Researcher Professor Peter Lambert, of Aston University,
Birmingham, said: ‘The numbers decreased always on copper but not
on the steel surfaces.’

If further hospital-based trials prove as successful, the
researchers would like copper fixtures and fittings installed in
hospitals around the country.

Doorknobs, taps, light switches, toilet seats and handles and
bathroom ‘grab rails’ could all be ripped out and replaced with
copper versions.

Although it is usually thought to be an expensive metal, copper
is actually a similar price to stainless steel, the researchers
said. Nursing homes and even our houses could also benefit from
the metal’s ability to wipe out dangerous bugs.

The healing power of copper has been recognised for thousands of
years.

More than 4,000 years ago, the Egyptians used it to sterilise
wounds and drinking water and the Aztecs treated skin conditions
with the metal.

The ancient Greeks also knew of its benefits. Hippocrates,
sometimes called ‘the father of medicine’, noted that it could be
used to treat leg ulcers.

Today, copper is a common constituent in medicines including
antiseptic and antifungal creams. It is also believed to have
anti-inflammatory properties. Many of those with arthritis wear
copper bangles.

Although they provide relief to many, there is no scientific
evidence that they work.

Copper is present in our diet in trace amounts and plays an
important role in the formation of red blood cells and in keeping
our blood vessels, nerves and bones healthy.

The research was funded by the copper industry.

http://tinyurl.com/6zy8xs

[The link above provides a video and two photos.]


#2

When I read something like this I just shake my head. How much money
was spent to re-learn that copper has amazing anti-microbial
properties as does silver.

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#3

it also helps with Dandruff if you use a brush with copper bristles.


#4
When I read something like this I just shake my head. How much
money was spent to re-learn that copper has amazing anti-microbial
properties as does silver. 

How much money? Who knows? But who paid for it is no secret. The
last line in the article states it very clearly. “The research was
funded by the copper industry.” You can bet that the copper industry
also paid a PR firm to promote the research. In fact, it may have
been the PR firm that suggested the research in order to manufacture
a pro-copper news story. That is where this kind of news story comes
from.

As you correctly suggest, silver has the same properties. Perhaps
the silver industry should get some PR going about the anti-microbial
properties of that metal. For instance, you could do research to see
how silver ear wires compare to other metals in preventing
infections. Or how well silver utensils and vessels are more hygienic
for food service. You need to have an actual credible study to make
it newsworthy.

I have been reading “PR on a Budget” by Leonard Saffir. A real
eye-opener on how agenda driven news stories make it into the media.
It is not just customers that are the targets of PR generated news.
Voters, juries, employees, investors and regulators can all be the
targets for efforts to shape public opinion. The copper industry is
trying to shift the perception away from the idea that copper is
slightly toxic to the idea that it is naturally antiseptic. There was
a similar and very successful effort several decades ago to change
the perception of asbestos from a trusted safety product to a nasty
carcinogen.

Stephen Walker


#5

Also Google Colloidal Silver. Kills over 750 “bad bugs” including
viruses.


#6

When I used to make crowns and bridges, the dentist who I worked for
used to shake his head in wonder at how ell old silver fillings still
worked to prevent further decay, even after they pretty much rattled
in the teeth they filled. Even loose fillings worked it seemed, to a
large degree, due the antimicrobil properties of the metal…

Andy


#7

The key paragraph to all this from my perspective is the following:

During the ten-week trial on a medical ward, a set of taps, a
lavatory seat and a push plate on an entrance door were replaced
with copper versions. They were swabbed twice a day for bugs and
the results compared with a traditional tap, lavatory seat and
push plate elsewhere in the ward. 

From a design perspective it would be important to know 1) if the
section of the ward where the copper fittings were placed consists
of the same types of patients as the section of the ward where the
control samples were drawn from. If the patients were different in
terms of disease prevalence, that could account for the different
results completely, 2) is 10 weeks long enough to run a trial like
this? What is the turn-over of patients in a 10-week period? Does one
section of the ward have more turn-over than the other? It would be
important to determine comparability between the 2 sections in this
factor. 3) What kind of medical ward is it? Is it a place where these
superbugs would normally flourish or not? 4) Did they use a
comparable number of taps, toilet seats and push plates for the two
groups? It almost sounds like they did not and they could certainly
cause some confounding.

Bottom line is there is not enough info in this article to convince
me that the study wasn’t flawed in some way. However, it is
interesting…


#8

copper has amazing anti-microbial properties as does silver

How true… Before refrigeration people used to drop a silver dollar
into a quart of milk to keep it from spoiling. History offers a lot
of amazing uses for materials we now take for granted or simply
don’t know about their many uses.

Jeni
watching the pumpkins glow…


#9
When I used to make crowns and bridges, the dentist who I worked
for used to shake his head in wonder at how ell old silver fillings
still worked to prevent further decay, even after they pretty much
rattled in the teeth they filled. 

I’d be inclined to give the mercury as much credit as the silver :slight_smile:

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#10

There is a relatively new sheet steel product that is silver coated
that is being sold to manufacturers to make anti-microbial items out
of for hospital and food handling products.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#11
Also Google Colloidal Silver. Kills over 750 "bad bugs" including
viruses.

Have you seen the Blue Man? His skin is blue from years of ingesting
colloidal silver as a tonic.

  Paul Karason puts a whole new spin on "feeling blue." For more
  than a decade, the 57-year-old has been living with a blue
  face. Fourteen years ago, Karason developed a bad case of
  dermatitis, which results in swollen, reddened and itchy skin.
  He started self-medicating, using a treatment called colloidal
  silver, which is made by extracting silver from metal.....

  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317564,00.html

#12

Hi,

I had to add something here. The blue guy has used colloidal silver
for a long time. However, there is a woman who, when she was young,
had a prescription from a doctor for her to use colloidal silver. It
turned her blue soon after starting the treatment.

Actually, the appearance is blue but the coloring is basically the
same thing that happens when a black and white photograph was taken.
The skin turns blue as a result of exposure to light (I believe)
after ingesting the silver.

The kicker…once these people are blue, there is no undoing the
process and they are blue for life.

Very interesting, but I don’t think I’ll use the colloidal silver.

Kim Paluch
http://of-the-earth.org


#13

This kind of thing is well known in industry wherever water is
concerned. Part of my job involved the maintenance of large cooling
towers and swimming pools and one of the options I considered on
refurbishments was a system which circulated the water over a set of
silver/copper alloy electrodes which were electrically charged to
release ions into the water. For many purposes this was a perfectly
acceptable method of water purification and killed almost all
bacteria etc. The only time it fell down was when biofilms were
allowed to build up in dark corners of the tanks so providing a
habitat where some of the nastier bugs could multiply to critical
levels. Then there was no substitute for bleach and a scrubbing
brush!

I’m still convinced that most hospital infections are actually
transferred by bed curtains - everyone passing or visiting the bed
tend to touch them and, as far as I can tell, they are only taken
down and cleaned at very irregular intervals - maybe even only once
or twice a year…

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#14
one of the options I considered on refurbishments was a system
which circulated the water over a set of silver/copper alloy
electrodes which were electrically charged to release ions into the
water. For many purposes this was a perfectly acceptable method of
water purification and killed almost all bacteria etc. 

Would the use of this type of system mean that a spa or swimming
pool would not need the addition of chlorine?

Noel


#15

Hello,

I work at a Health food store and I do have to say this: The man who
turned himself blue was using large amounts of colloidal silver and
applying it to his skin also while taking it internally. The his
percentage of the colloidal silver that he was using is what turned
his skin blue, if you take colloidal silver in the suggested doses
from a product made by a vitamin/supplement company you shouldn’t
turn blue. The “commercial” colloidal silver is made at a potency of
30 ppm which is pretty diluted. This potency is safe enough for even
children to use. Most of the people we have purchasing the colloidal
silver are parents to give it to their sick kids, and no one has
turned blue yet! Most of the blue people cases are caused from people
who make their own colloidal silver and do not test the potency.
Although there are always some exceptions to the rule. So, I say we
all just work with silver and while doing that we ingest/inhale
enough dust just to keep the winter crud away.

Lauren Stineman


#16
I'm still convinced that most hospital infections are actually
transferred by bed curtains - everyone passing or visiting the bed
tend to touch them and, 

Also ties, men’s ties. There was a study, and doctor’s ties were
found to be to blame. How often do you send your ties out to be dry
cleaned, you know?

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#17
Paul Karason puts a whole new spin on "feeling blue." For more than
a decade, the 57-year-old has been living with a blue face. 

My favorite part is at the end of the story when he’s asked if he
still drinks it… and replies “yes, but much less”!!!

wow.


#18

I took coloidal silver for a bladder infection once, and I didn’t
turn blue either, but I’ve read some stories about people taking it
too much and turning their skin metallic/silvery.


#19

As a matter of interest, when visiting my mother in UK from
Australia, I was concerned about myself and my two children catching
anything in transit that we may have passed on to my mother who was
undergoing chemotherapy. My doctor recommended 5ml coloidal silver
daily either on its own or in water and it certainly did the trick.
We caught nothing and I continue to take it whenever seasons are
changing or I am travelling. So far so good. I have also heard the
reports that people can take too much.


#20

Hi Noel,

one of the options I considered on refurbishments was a system
which circulated the water over a set of silver/copper alloy
electrodes which were electrically charged to release ions into
the water. For many purposes this was a perfectly acceptable method
of water purification and killed almost all bacteria etc.

Would the use of this type of system mean that a spa or swimming
pool would not need the addition of chlorine? 

That was what the system was apparently developed for - I didn’t use
it at the time because I was dealing with cooling towers where
Legionnaires disease was the primary worry and I was concerned with
killing everything, not just bacteria. Legionnaires disease grows in
protozoa which like to hide in dark corners and under biofilms so,
unless there is complete regular agitation of the water, there is a
possibility that these can grow in stagnant areas. Personally I
wouldn’t use this system for a swimming pool or some of the other
competing systems using ultra violet light or ozone injection - I
would stick with dumping bleach into the water… its cheap and is
known to kill almost all hazardous lifeforms, so long as the
concentration of free chlorine ions is regularly monitored and kept
within safe limits. These fancy ‘pass through’ water treatment
systems are really best for industrial process water treatment or
drinking water. However, before you think of making any changes to
your established water treatment regime I would consult a water
treatment specialist.

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK