Antimicrobial copper coatings are being installed on high-touch transit surfaces on Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) vehicles and more TransLink vehicles following a successful pilot phase that supports copper’s ability to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria on transit surfaces.
The new round of testing seeks to confirm those results from the first phase in Vancouver by evaluating copper surfaces on more transit vehicles over a longer duration of time across two different regions. For this phase, the medical microbiology teams at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Mount Sinai Hospital/University Health Network will be undertaking regular bacteria testing, and VCH will be conducting laboratory testing on copper’s ability to kill viruses in addition to bacteria.
The trial, fully funded by Teck Resources Limited (Teck) as part of its Copper & Health program, will outfit copper on high-touch surfaces on several TTC buses, subway cars, and streetcars, as well as several TransLink buses and SkyTrain cars.
- This trial will test three types of products including functional copper surface layers, copper alloys, and copper decals.
- Copper products will be installed on buses, subway cars, and streetcars in the Greater Toronto Area as well as buses and SkyTrains in Metro Vancouver.
- Samples will be analyzed from copper surfaces as well as non-copper surfaces on transit by VCH’s medical microbiology team, supported by Mount Sinai Hospital/University Health Network in Toronto and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. These tests will occur every two months over a one-year period.
- Researchers from the University of British Columbia will also test and analyze the durability of the three products as they age over the course of the year.
- This trial is being conducted at no cost to either transit service.
The results of this trial could improve understanding of options for infection prevention for the transit industry and other industries that rely on shared public spaces, according to the agencies.
The project is the result of a partnership between Teck Resources Limited, Toronto Transit Commission, TransLink, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), Mount Sinai Hospital/University Health Network, the Coalition for Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction, UBC Department of Materials Engineering, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, and Westech Cleaning Audit Systems. The trial follows preceding studies conducted by the Infection Prevention and Control team at VCH that have shown copper to be highly durable and effective at killing bacteria in laboratory and healthcare settings.