Cupron, creator of a copper-based antimicrobial technology, and EOS Surfaces, a solid surface manufacturer, jointly announce that their surface, Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces, has received the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s approval to make a public health claim that their copper-enhanced material can kill greater than 99.9 percent of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria* within two hours of exposure. Prior to this, only elemental copper and certain copper alloys held this official distinction.
The approval is based on Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces’ ability to kill specific disease-causing bacteria, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli (O157:H7). MRSA is one of the most common strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a well-recognized cause of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). The two companies expect this material to help healthcare organizations and infection preventionists manage HAIs. The product is approved for use in a wide range of applications, including healthcare.
“The EPA’s approval of our public health claims surrounding Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces is a pivotal moment in not only the commercialization of our technology, but also how health care facilities combat hospital infections,” says Paul Rocheleau, chairman of Cupron. “HAIs have a devastating effect on the health care environment, causing thousands of deaths and costing billions of dollars each year. While we fully acknowledge our surface won’t end this problem, we believe these innovative materials will provide an additional layer of protection in managing the risks associated with microbial control.”
The use of antimicrobial materials for frequently touched surfaces may be an effective supplement to existing CDC-prescribed handwashing and disinfection regimens.
In order to submit these claims to the EPA, the surface first had to achieve a 100-percent pass rate of thousands of samples at an independent testing laboratory under the highest laboratory standards available. The samples were tested in various environmental conditions, cleaning protocols, and for efficacy after repeated exposure. EOS Surfaces also performed extensive ASTM testing to support mechanical performance claims.
Specifically, the following statements are included in the EPA registration:
- “This surface continuously reduces bacterial* contamination achieving a 99.9% reduction within two hours of exposure.”
- “This surface kills greater than 99.9 percent of Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria* within two hours of exposure.”
- “This surface kills greater than 99.9 percent of bacteria* within two hours and continues to kill 99 percent of bacteria* even after repeated contamination.”
- “This surface helps inhibit the buildup and growth of bacteria* within two hours of exposure between routine cleaning and sanitizing steps.”
*Testing demonstrates effective antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538), Enterobacter aerogenes (ATCC 13048), Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA-ATCC 33592), Escherichia coli O157:H7 (ATCC 35150) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 15442).
“This approval affirms what we’ve known for a while, that our surface has the potential to make a real impact with infection rates among hospitals and other health care institutions,” says Ken Trinder, CEO of EOS Surfaces. “Our next goal is to establish a network of distributors, fabricators and end-use partners to get these materials in the field so that it can begin saving lives, keeping people healthier and reducing costs. EOS Surfaces are designed to be used for countertops, nurses’ stations, wall panels and building components, showers and lavatory fixtures, furniture and tables, and a broad range of other products.”
Cupron and EOS Surfaces will set up a product stewardship program to support the responsible use of the technology and obtain feedback from users of the surface. Cupron and EOS, together with various health care partners, will further evaluate the benefit of antimicrobial-protected surfaces (hard surfaces and textiles) in reducing the amount of disease-causing bacteria in medical facilities.
Cupron and EOS Surfaces jointly developed this material with a range of performance characteristics that provides the mechanical properties of non-porous solid surfaces, the aesthetics for design flexibility and high antimicrobial performance. Because the Cupron technology is embedded throughout the surface, it will not lose its effectiveness over time and wear-and-tear. In fact, it can be fabricated, polished and modified as needed.
Furthermore, EOS is building a new state-of-the-art facility in Norfolk, Virginia for the large-scale manufacturing of Cupron Enhanced EOS. The new facility, expected to begin operation in early 2013, will have specialized equipment that has been designed to commercialize the proprietary technology for a range of products. The new plant will manufacture various thicknesses of Cupron Enhanced EOS cast slabs, perform finishing operations, and will have the capability to manufacture pre-made vanities and other ancillary surfacing products for microbial control.