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Antimicrobial Copper at the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s (SETAC) Conference

November 15th, 2011

By Adam Estelle, CDA Project Engineer

For the second year now, I’ve hosted a booth on Antimicrobial Copper at the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s (SETAC) annual conference.  At first thought, it seemed like putting copper in hospitals was the last thing environmentalists wanted to hear about. However, sharing the public health benefits of copper with this group has been both beneficial and enlightening.  The first year I went to SETAC, it was quite apparent that there are some strong opinions and negative perceptions about copper.  After sharing our story about how copper can be used in hospitals to continuously kill bacteria that cause infections, visitors were much more receptive to the societal benefits copper can provide in healthcare, and in other applications like aquaculture.  I was amazed at how many return visitors remembered our discussions from last year.  Many still had the antimicrobial brass pens we passed out.  This year, instead of hearing: “copper is toxic, why are you putting it in hospitals?”, we heard: “copper’s trying to keep people healthy, tell me what’s new?”  This change in perception is encouraging, and we look forward to helping this audience understand the health benefits copper can provide at next year’s show.

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