New York legislators recommend more copper surfaces

Proposed state bills would require anti-microbial copper push plates and handles on doors of new publicly funded buildings.

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April 20, 2020

Legislators in the state of New York have introduced bills designed to require the use of copper pushplates on doors in buildings that will be built with public funding or financing.

An April 17 online report by the Rome (New York) Sentinel indicates two different legislators have introduced bills that would “require construction projects that receive public funding to use anti-microbial copper alloy for all touch surfaces to reduce the spread of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19.”

Copper and copper alloys have been gaining attention and some investment as materials that can help prevent the spread of viruses and other microbes.

New York Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, a co-author of one of the bills, reportedly referred to studies that have found door handles and handrails made of copper can offer significantly lower contamination levels as measured by the presence of disease-causing bacteria compared with other commonly used materials.

The Sentinel article quotes a spokesperson from Rome, New York-based Revere Copper as saying the construction market had not yet backed the use of copper in such anti-microbial applications, but a bill such as the one in New York could be “a step in the right direction.”

On its website, Revere says the recycled content percentage of its bare Classic Copper product is greater than 90 percent. The company produces copper in sheet, plate, coil, strip and bar forms.

Another metal found commonly in environments with a high level of sanitation required is stainless steel. An April article in the Kentucky-based Lane Report says the North American Stainless (NAS) mill in the Bluegrass State is staying busy in part for that reason.

“We are proud to play an important role in America’s fight against the novel coronavirus,” it quotes NAS CEO Cris Fuentes as stating.

Fuentes says some of the NAS metal produced “winds up in critical health care devices.” Adds the CEO, “We are a vital part of the American supply chain and take pride that it is American workers making the steel.”