Paging doctor copper: metal wins fans in health care

According to Stephanie Yang on WSJ, copper is used in everything from construction to electrical wiring, but it also has antimicrobial properties that kill 99.9% of bacteria on its surface within two hours, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That makes it a potential weapon for combating the spread of infections in hospitals and public areas.

More than 150 social insurance and different offices have introduced antimicrobial copper composite surfaces fabricated in the U.S. since 2011, as indicated by the Copper Development Association. Items range from copper trucks and sinks to entryway handles. 

Some in the industry are hoping that these products will provide a new avenue of growth as other primary sources of demand have slowed, even though copper’s health-care uses are relatively expensive, and some health-care professionals question its ability to reduce infection.

Copper costs have fallen by more than half since they topped above $4.60 a pound in 2011, as development in China, the world’s biggest buyer, has moderated. Costs have recuperated 3% this year as worries over China’s economy have facilitated.

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