EPA Registers Copper Surfaces for Residual Use Against Coronavirus
WASHINGTON (February 10, 2021) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that certain copper alloys provide long-term effectiveness against viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. As a result of EPA’s approval, products containing these copper alloys can now be sold and distributed with claims that they kill certain viruses that come into contact with them. This is the first product with residual claims against viruses to be registered for use nationwide. Testing to demonstrate this effectiveness was conducted on harder-to-kill viruses.
“Providing Americans with new tools and information to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “Today’s action marks another step forward in EPA’s efforts to listen to the science and provide effective tools to help protect human health.”
In today’s action, EPA is granting 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 is adding virus claims to the product registration.
New efficacy testing supported by the Copper Development Association and conducted according to EPA's protocols demonstrated certain high-percentage copper alloy products can continuously kill viruses that come into contact with them. Based on testing against harder-to-kill viruses, EPA expects these products to eliminate 99.9 percent of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, within two hours.
Antimicrobial copper alloys can be manufactured into a wide range of surfaces, including doorknobs and handrails. These high-percentage copper alloy products will be added to the List N Appendix , the Agency’s list of residual antiviral products that can be used to supplement routine cleaning and disinfection to combat SARS-CoV-2. To find products for routine cleaning and disinfection, see EPA’s List N.
The use of antimicrobial copper alloy products supplements but does not replace standard infection control practices. Individuals should continue to follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC), state, and local public health guidelines, including critical precautions like mask wearing, social distancing, and ventilation. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person.