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Brass Attacked: Sweat Boosts Bacteria on Brass and Copper Fixtures

The use of brass and copper has been a standard in building interiors such as schools, hospitals and offices for decades. Any element that uses a copper base, like brass, has been proven to help fight bacteria on contact over hundreds of years of research. However, brass door handles and panels could be facing an unlikely threat; sweaty palms. The University of Leicester revealed this week that findings from it's latest study show that he salt in human sweat could counter-act the bacteria-beating chemistry of copper. It's understood that the unique make-up of brass creates a small electrochemical reaction on contact with living organisms that disrupts the DNA of nasty germs, preventing them from reproducing. However, a team lead by Dr. Bond say that within an houor of contact, the sodium in sweat can nullify that reaction by corroding the surface of the metal creates an oxidising layer, preventing the hygenic reaction taking place. Dr Bond said: "The antimicrobial effect of copper has been known for hundreds of years. It is thought to occur as a result of a charge exchange between copper and bacteria, which leads to a degradation of the bacteria DNA. We have discovered that the salt in sweat corrodes the metal, forming an oxide layer on its surface, which is the process of corrosion – and this corrosive layer is known to inhibit the effect of the copper. We have shown that it is possible for sweat to produce an oxide layer on the metal within an hour of contact. "While it is well known that sweat corrodes brass, this is the first study to quantitatively analyse the temporal corrosion of copper alloys such as brass in the first few hours after contact between fingerprint sweat concentrations of salt and the metal.” Brass still has it's hygenic uses in offices, schools and hospitals but now we can conclusively say it needs a little help to stay at it's bacteria-busting best. So be sure to drop us a line at Total Clean to help with all aspects of keeping your premises clean at all times of day.
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