TransLink will be the first transit system in North America to pilot the use of bacteria and virus killing copper on high-touch transit surfaces.
The project is part of a study that will see various copper-based products and a protective coating called organosilane installed on SkyTrain and buses to test how effective these agents are at destroying viruses and bacteria on transit.
In the initial four-week pilot phase:
- Products will be installed on two trolley buses on high-ridership routes and two SkyTrain cars on the Expo and Millennium Lines
- Twice weekly the surfaces will be swabbed and tested to determine antimicrobial effectiveness of the products.
- At the end of one month, the surfaces will also be assessed for durability.
“Copper alloy surfaces are naturally antimicrobial with self-sanitizing properties. Recent literature shows that copper alloy surfaces destroy up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses within four hours,” TransLink said.
Organosilane is a wipe-on coating that can provide long-lasting protection against damaging microbes such as bacteria, mold, mildew and many viruses, the agency added.
When used in tandem with good hygiene and cleaning protocols, copper and organosilanes can help inhibit the buildup and growth of viruses and bacteria.
This initial phase is fully funded by Teck, as part of its Copper & Health program.
It is based on preceding studies conducted by the Infection Prevention & Control team at Vancouver Coastal Health and supported by Teck that have shown copper is effective at killing bacteria and is durable over a period of many years.