A Brazilian airport installs copper touch surfaces in new parking areas
One of Brazil’s busiest airports aims to improve hygiene in public spaces by installing antimicrobial copper touch surfaces on handrails and counters.
Because around 80% of infections are spread by touch, the move is intended to help protect the health of travellers by reducing the risk of transferring germs from touch surfaces to hands.
Copper rapidly kills bacteria, viruses and fungi that settle on its surface, and the metal confers this antimicrobial ability to many of its alloys, including brasses, bronzes and copper nickels.
Congonhas Airport in São Paulo opened new parking areas in December 2011, handling around 4,000 vehicles and 10,000 people every day. The airport seized the opportunity to upgrade handrails, counter tops and elevator guardrails to antimicrobial copper, and microbial testing of the surfaces has already shown a significant reduction in contamination.
Initial tests revealed residual bacterial contamination levels of less than 10 colony forming units (CFUs) per square centimetre. On equivalent surfaces made of stainless steel, this figure could be as high as 800 CFUs.
In addition to a very modern and striking aesthetic, copper is continuously reducing the level of contamination – in between normal cleaning procedures – and helping to reduce the risk of travellers exchanging infections as they pass through the airport.