That copper has beneficial effects in humans has been known for at least 4,000 years. The use of copper for drinking water containers to ensure portability, and the application of the powdered metal to wounds for disinfection is reported in ancient Egypt3. The Aztecs used copper to treat various skin diseases2. Hippocrates, the father of medicine (460 – 380 B.C.E) recommended the use of copper for leg ulcers related to varicose veins2. In France, during the three cholera epidemics around 1850, it was observed that workers in copper foundries were not affected by the disease3.
More recently, in 1970 the American College of Chest Physicians published on the ‘Antibacterial action of copper’. They showed using copper in large reservoir nebulizers used in respiratory therapy resulted in the contents remaining sterile4. More pertinently, in 1983, a hospital study in Pennsylvania showed copper’s effectiveness in lowering the E. coli count on brass door knobs.5.