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Antimicrobial Properties

Three proposed ASTM International standards will provide a base for the evaluation of the antimicrobial efficacy of solid copper materials. The proposed standards are being developed by Subcommittee B05.06 on Methods of Test, part of ASTM International Committee B05 on Copper and Copper Alloys.

The three proposed standards are:

  • WK42235, Test Method for Efficacy of Copper Alloy Surfaces as a Sanitizer;
  • WK42244, Test Method for Residual Self-Sanitizing Activity of Copper Alloy Surfaces; and
  • WK42247, Test Method for Continuous Reduction of Bacterial Contamination on Copper Alloy Surfaces.

James Michel, manager, technical services, Copper Development Association Inc., and secretary of B05, says that the three proposed standards have been developed in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to test the effectiveness of solid copper alloy surfaces to kill bacteria. Each of the proposed standards is a test method translated from an EPA protocol into the ASTM format.

“Previously, no test method has existed to qualify a solid material as a public health antimicrobial product,” says Michel. “Each of the proposed methods is different, but they are used together to qualify copper alloys as EPA-registered antimicrobial materials with human health claims.”

Michel notes that the foundation of the proposed standards will allow users throughout the world to quote and use the methods for testing procedures locally. “To the layman, the proposed standards will provide symbols that a material has been rigorously tested and proven to provide intrinsic antimicrobial benefits,” says Michel.

EPA copper alloys approved by use of these proposed methods will be available to be used for such surfaces such as door knobs and railings in healthcare facilities, schools and other public buildings, and transportation, to reduce bacteria and decrease the potential for infection. Primary users of WK42235, WK42244 and WK42247, once they have been approved, will be testing laboratories that want to qualify materials for potential EPA approval.

All interested parties are encouraged to join in the standards developing activities of Committee B05.

CONTACT Technical Information: James H. Michel, Copper Development Association Inc. • New York, N.Y. • Phone: 212-251-7210 | ASTM Staff: Jennifer Rodgers • Phone: 610-832-9694 | Upcoming Meeting: Oct. 21-23 • October Committee Week • Jacksonville, Fla.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.