EPA Updates Draft Copper Protocol

The EPA released an updated draft protocol for testing copper containing hard non-porous surfaces and based on results of an extensive peer review of the September 2014 draft protocol. 

The 2014 protocol addressed physical durability and chemical stability of surfaces, and required repeat abrasion testing and extensive chemical exposure.  These elements remain in the updated protocol, however changes were made to abrasion frequency reducing it from a twelve week to an eight week procedure.

The agency also removed efficacy requirements for E. aerogenes, leaving S. aureus and P. aeruginosa as the two required test microorganisms.  Additionally, artificial soil (i.e. organic burden) requirements have changed to reflect a three-part organic cocktail consistent with OECD methods.

In summary, copper and copper-alloy surfaces that meet the updated protocol’s thorough performance criteria can be depended on to reduce pathogen levels over the lifetime of the surface.  However, the extent of performance required will likely prevent many technologies from participating in the market and remove many existing technologies once Data Call-Ins (DCIs) are implemented. 

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