COPPER AND HOSPITAL INFECTIONS. I have posted several times, including here, about the need for efforts to reduce hospital infections by cleaning surfaces and washing hands. TAtyana Shumsky in the Wall Street Journal (October 24) reports that a new study shows that “copper kills bacteria and that copper surfaces in rooms in intensive-care units cut the amount of bacteria in the rooms by 97 % and reduced the rate of hospital-acquired infections by 41%.” The success is attributed to copper’s ability to conduct electricity (as in copper wires). Bacteria generate electricity. When bacteria come in contact with copper, the copper absorbs their electrons, “leaving them without energy.” I think that whether the or not the results have wider application, this kind of study shows the importance that is being given to reducing hospital infections.

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