ROM installs germ-destroying copper to keep patrons safe – by Christine Sismondo (Toronto Star – August 16, 2022)

B.C. company Teck partnered with TTC, ROM and other high-traffic public spaces to make surfaces safer.

The vast majority of folks headed into the new “Fantastic Beasts” exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) will probably be so excited about all the magical creatures they’re about to see that they’ll completely miss a little bit of wizardry at the entrance.

To be fair, since it looks like an ordinary pair of door handles, it’s pretty easy to miss. The door handles do have a superpower, though, namely, the ability to kill germs and viruses in the blink of an eye. It isn’t actually magic. It’s science. The handles are made of copper, a metal with antimicrobial properties.

“Copper has this amazing ability to release these charged ions, so that when bacteria or viruses land on its surface, it actually attacks the cells, including the RNA and DNA,” explained Kim Tait, PhD in geosciences and the Teck chair of mineralogy at the ROM, the first museum in Canada to start installing antimicrobial copper in high-touch areas.

“People talk about it almost like a bullet going into the inner structure of the cells,” she continued. “Whereas, with stainless steel, some microbes can sit there for days, and then we touch it and pass it along.”

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