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EPA Authorizes Virucidal Registration for Copper Alloys

The U.S. EPA has confirmed the virucidal effect of certain copper alloys after examining data from the Copper Development Association, allowing the association to recommend copper alloys against COVID-19.

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A stock photo of a man and a boy wearing masks in a hospital environment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Washington, D.C.) has announced that certain copper alloys provide effective long-term protection against viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The Copper Development Association (CDA; McLean, Va.) says the EPA's approval makes these alloys the first and only products registered for nationwide use with residual, long-lasting efficacy claims against viruses. This EPA action granted an amended registration to the CDA, allowing it to add unprecedented virucidal claims to its existing registration — which currently permits claims against bacteria, including the antibiotic-resistant hospital superbug MRSA.

"The EPA's action enables the broad-spectrum and enduring public health benefits of copper alloys to be deployed in the fight against COVID-19 and future viral pathogens," says Thom Passek, president of CDA. "We are grateful for EPA’s forethought and proactive support to bring this innovative and scientifically-proven solution to the table."

To earn virucidal registration, CDA provided extensive data on harder-to-kill viruses, demonstrating long-lasting virucidal efficacy. Results showed that certain copper alloys continuously kill >99.9% of several viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 and Rhinovirus, within two hours of contact. 

Products made from copper alloys can form a wide range of durable surfaces, including doorknobs, handrails, desktops and much more. The alloys are the first products to be included on the EPA's List N Appendix, which contains virucidal products with residual, 24/7 effectiveness — as opposed to conventional disinfectants that only work upon application. 

The CDA would like to remind readers that copper alloy surfaces are a supplement to, and not a substitute for, standard infection control practices, including the need to follow public health guidelines and critical precautions such as mask wearing, social distancing and ventilation.

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