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Disclaimer: Copper Cape does not claim to kill Covid-19

NEW (February 10, 2021) - U.S. EPA granted an unprecedented public health registration permitting certain copper alloys to make residual virucidal efficacy claims against SARS-CoV-2, Rhinovirus Type 37, Rotavirus Strain WA, and Human Coronavirus 229E. EPA granted an amended registration to the Copper Development Association for an emerging viral pathogen claim to be added to the label of Antimicrobial Copper Alloys- Group 1 (EPA Reg. No. 82012-1), which is made of at least 95.6 percent copper. Amended registrations allow previously registered products to make label changes (e.g., changes to product claims, precautions and/or use directions) and/or formulation changes. In this case, the amended registration added virus claims to the product registration.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the following clarifying statements were developed as part of CDA's EPA-mandated Stewardship Plan:

  • Media reports and public inquiries to CDA have noted several independent studies reporting antimicrobial efficacy of uncoated copper and copper alloy surfaces against human pathogens, including one strain of coronavirus (HuCoV-229E) reported in mBio by Warnes et al (citation).

  • There also has been widespread media coverage of a recent U.S. government-funded study conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, remained viable for up to 2 to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces vs. up to 4 hours on copper (citation)

  • All antimicrobial products marketed and sold in the U.S. are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the products are safe to use, and that advertising claims about protecting public health, and efficacy against specific pathogens, are supported by rigorous testing under EPA-approved protocols.

  • Copper alloy materials are registered by EPA (Reg. Nos. 82012-1 to 6) to make public health claims against six specific bacteria* (e.g. continuously kills >99.9% of MRSA within 2 hours of contact between routine cleanings).

  • Copper alloy materials with at least 95.6% copper covered by the Group I registration (Reg. Nos. 82012-1) are permitted to make public health claims (e.g. continuously kills >99.9% in 2 hours) against 3 specific viruses: Human Coronavirus 229E, Rhinovirus Type 37, and Rotavirus Strain WA. Group I alloys are also permitted to make emerging viral pathogen claims against SARS-CoV-2 and future enveloped and large non-enveloped viral pathogens under the conditions established in the EPA guidelines. Group I copper alloys are the first and only materials on EPA's List N Appendix, which is the Agency's list of residual virucidal products that can be used to combat SARS-CoV-2.

  • Copper alloys with lower copper content in Groups II through VI are not permitted to make virucidal efficacy claims at this time, but may be able to do so in the future pending confirmatory testing according to EPA protocols.

  • For more information on the antimicrobial properties of copper alloys and EPA registration, visit:

CDA is committed to supporting the appropriate government agencies and public health officials that express interest in evaluating the potential for copper alloy surfaces to supplement first-line defense measures against COVID-19 including social distancing, practicing proper hand hygiene and routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces with EPA-registered disinfectants. For more information on EPA’s current guidance to identify effective disinfectant products for use against emerging viral pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, click HERE.

*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7. Antimicrobial copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination or infections; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices. All content on this webpage is intended for the U.S. market and audiences only.

Disclaimer: Copper Cape does not claim to kill Covid-19

Ashley Laderer Updated Dec 28, 2020, 12:48 PM

This article was medically reviewed by Tania Elliott, MD, who specializes in infectious diseases related to allergies and immunology for internal medicine at NYU Langone Health.

Copper kills most germs within hours, and renders others non-infectious. Nicole Lienemann / EyeEm / Getty Images

  • Copper can kill viruses and other germs by disrupting the protective layers of the organisms and interfering with its vital processes.

  • A study found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the coronavirus pandemic, is no longer infectious on copper within 4 hours, whereas it can survive on plastic surfaces for 72 hours.

  • Copper has many applications in hospitals and other places where germs are likely to spread.

While you may think that antiseptic wipes or sprays are necessary tokill germs, there's actually a metal that kills germs on contact — no cleaning supplies necessary.

Believe it or not, the use of copper for health purposes dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt, and scientists today are still learning about the amazing benefits of copper. Here's what you need to know.

Copper does kill germs

Copper has antimicrobial properties, meaning it can kill microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. However, the microorganism has to come in contact with the copper in order for it to be killed. This is referred to as "contact killing."

According to Edward Bilsky, Ph.D., Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, copper can kill germs in a few ways:

  • It disrupts bacterial cell membranes — copper ions damage cell membranes or "envelopes" and can destroy the DNA or RNA of the microbe

  • It generates oxidative stress on bacterial cells and creates hydrogen peroxide that can kill the cell

  • It interferes with proteins that operate important functions that keep bacterial cells alive

The exact mechanism of how copper interferes with proteins in bacterial cells is not fully understood yet, but the current hypothesis is mis-metalation, thanks to the fact that copper is a stable metal.

"Mis-metalation is the ability of a metal to basically replace another metal," says Michael D. L. Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Immunobiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. "Copper can just replace some of the other metals that are present in some of these other proteins [in bacteria] and by doing so, it blocks the function of those proteins." When you block a protein's function, it starts a bacteria-killing chain reaction. "By blocking the function of the protein, you block the function of the pathway. When you block the function of the pathway, you block the function of the organism, and then the organism is just dead in the water," says Johnson.

Copper can kill viruses and bacteria

Studies have shown that copper can kill many types of germs on contact. According to a 2015 study published in Health Environments Research and Design Journal, some of the common germs copper has been proven to kill are:

  • MRSA

  • E. coli

  • Influenza A

  • Norovirus

Brand new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that copper can be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the coronavirus pandemic. The study showed that after four hours, the virus was no longer infectious on copper's surface. In comparison, coronavirus was still infectious on plastic surfaces after 72 hours.

The applications of antimicrobial copper

One of the main applications of copper is in hospitals, although the use is not widespread. In the same study as above, researchers determined the germiest surfaces in a hospital room – bed rails, call buttons, chair arms, tray table, data input, and IV pole – and replaced them with copper components.

The results were very promising. Compared to the rooms made with traditional materials, there was an 83% reduction in bacterial load on the surfaces in the rooms with copper components. Additionally, infection rates of patients were reduced by 58%.

Technically, you can use copper at home. However, according to Johnson, the majority of copper products for the home have a treatment on it to prevent the oxidation that causes the beautiful original color of the copper to turn to a greenish-blue over time. This treatment prevents you from getting the beneficial antimicrobial properties of copper. That being said, copper still has the ability to be toxic to bacteria when it's at this oxidized greenish state, however, according to Johnson, scientists still don't know exactly how this mechanism works.

According to current research, the downside of using copper is that it isn't as effective at destroying viruses as it is at killing bacteria – particularly if it's an airborne virus. Much of this has to do with the fact that viruses are technically not living organisms — they are infection agents, which are not "alive" like cells are, and as such they are more durable.

"Viruses are different in that they are not cells but rather infect healthy cells that allows them to replicate. The virus can come in direct contact with the upper respiratory tract and eyes and enter healthy cells, so a copper strategy would be largely ineffective [in that case]," says Bilsky.

Another downside is that there are some unsubstantiated claims that may mislead people. Some companies try to market copper jewelry or copper-infused socks as antimicrobial protection for the wearer, but these are ineffective.

Hopefully, more research will continue to be conducted so we can better understand the antimicrobial properties of copper and the most effective ways to use it in everyday life to keep us healthy.

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

By: Peyton Shelburne

This tracker is part of a series from Morning Consult gauging when consumers will return to normal activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and sign up for alerts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the traditional U.S. office model, forcing companies to rethink their policies on remote work as they consider the benefits and drawbacks, and creating challenges for nearly every type of workplace. To help employers navigate this new reality,

Morning Consult is closely tracking employees’ perceptions about working remotely, their comfort levels in returning to the office and traveling for work, and future considerations about company policies on remote work. The primary demographic group tracked on this page are “current remote workers,” which refers to U.S. adults who usually work from an office but are working remotely due to the pandemic.

Morning Consult is tracking pent-up demand and excitement for many of the activities listed on this page. Bookmark this page for weekly updates of these figures, and read our deep dive on which industries will see a post-pandemic boom in consumer demand.


More Than Two-Thirds of Current Remote Workers Would Feel Comfortable Returning to the Office: Twenty-nine percent still feel uncomfortable returning at this time.

About Half of Workers Would Consider Quitting if Their Employer Asked Them to Return to the Office Before They Felt Safe: Additionally, Sixty-eight percent of current remote workers want all their coworkers to be vaccinated before they return to an office.

The Majority of Workers Enjoy Remote Work: Eighty-five percent of current remote workers enjoy working remotely. Furthermore, 74 percent of remote workers reported that they are more productive, and a similar share would be more likely to apply for a job that offers a remote work option.

The Share of Americans Who Feel Comfortable Traveling for Work Plateaus:Forty-seven percent would feel comfortable with domestic travel for work, but only 27 percent would be comfortable traveling internationally for work. Forty-five percent of Americans would feel comfortable attending a work conference, and a similar share would feel comfortable going to an office party.

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