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EPA registers copper-containing alloy products

Current as of May 2008

On February 29, 2008, EPA registered five copper-containing alloy products.  The registration allows the registrant, the Copper Development Association (CDA) to market these products with a claim that copper, when used in accordance with the label, “kills 99.9% of bacteria within two hours.” This Web page explains the conditions of the registration and provides information on the pesticidal claims.  

Use of the products

These products will be marketed in sheets that can be fabricated into various articles such as door knobs, counter tops, hand rails, I.V. (intravenous) poles, and other objects found in commercial, residential, and healthcare settings.

The registered copper alloy may be used as a supplement to – not a substitute for – standard infection control practices.  Users must continue to follow all current infection control practices, including those practices related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces. 

Two conditions for registration were:

Risk findings

These products are registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act’s no "unreasonable adverse effects" standard.  These products pose no risks to public health; copper products have been in use for centuries, and we know of no harm from such use. 

The products have been rigorously tested and have demonstrated antimicrobial activity.  After consulting with independent organizations – the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology and the American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services – as well as a leading expert in the field (Dr. William A. Rutala, Ph.D., M.P.H., University of North Carolina (UNC) Health Care System and UNC School of Medicine), the Agency has concluded that the use of these products could provide a benefit as a supplement to existing infection control measures. 

In addition, EPA has required the registrant to take specific steps in its marketing of copper products to ensure that prospective purchasers understand the nature of the antimicrobial protection these products can provide and the importance of continuing to practice appropriate infection control measures diligently.

For further explanation of our "no risk concerns" position, see the copper Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) document.

Registrations by other manufacturers

To make the same type of pesticide claims as CDA, other manufacturers have two options:

  1. file for EPA registration
  2. seek to obtain a "Supplemental Distributor Registration," becoming a distributor of CDA’s registrations to market products that make the same registration claims.

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