Assemblywoman Buttenschon Introduces Bill Requiring Publicly Funded Construction Projects to Use Antimicrobial Copper

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-I-Utica/Rome) announced that she introduced a bill that would require construction projects that receive public funding to use antimicrobial copper alloy for all touch surfaces to reduce the spread of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19 (A.10267). The bill is sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Tim Kennedy (S.8180).

“As we continue to do everything we can to flatten the curve and protect New Yorkers during these difficult times, it’s critical that we utilize new knowledge and technology to help mitigate any future health crises,” Buttenschon said. “Research has shown that using copper on frequently touched surfaces can significantly reduce the spread of viruses and infections, which is why I’ve introduced this legislation to require all construction projects funded by the state to use antimicrobial copper. By promoting the use of bacteria- and virus-killing materials, this bill will help safeguard the public health now and for future generations.”

Studies conducted by the American Society for Microbiology have found that copper alloy surfaces were able to rapidly kill bacteria, yeasts and viruses and harbor far less bacteria than other standard materials.[1] As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, the cross-transmission of bacteria between surfaces and human interactions can drastically increase the spread of infection, including in hospitals and other health care environments. The widespread use of antimicrobial copper surfaces would help counteract this serious problem and serve as an effective strategy in preventing the spread of disease in health care facilities, as well as in schools, gyms and other buildings.[2]

Buttenschon’s bill would require all new construction projects that receive state funding to use copper alloy touch surfaces, which include door handles, bathroom fixtures, bed rails and handrails. The legislation aims to not only reduce the spread of infection but would also help boost the Mohawk Valley economy by investing in locally-made materials. The information on the antimicrobial properties of copper and the idea for the legislation stems from the Assemblywoman’s tour of Revere Copper Products, Inc. located in Rome, NY in the fall of 2019.

“As New Yorkers practice social distancing and do their part to fight COVID-19, I’ll continue to use my voice to fight for changes that make our state and communities safer,” Buttenschon said.