The need to prevent the spread of germs has always been a major concern. Research indicates that a copper surface is more effective at preventing the spread of germs than stainless steel. Copper has a 2000 year history of antimicrobial applications in a multitude of cultures. More recent research has sought to determine uncoated copper's effectiveness in stemming the proliferation of infectious disease. At the University of Southampton in the U.K. research studies have shown that many common disease causing microbes such as E. coli, Aspergillus niger (black mold) and Influenza A, die within hours on copper surfaces. The Influenza A family of viruses includes the problematic Avian flu and swine flu strains and copper can help contain a flu. Even deadly antibiotic resistant bacteria associated with infections such as MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) die within 1.5 hours on pure copper. On stainless steel and plastics, typically used for food-processing hardware, pathogens survived unabated for days, sometimes more than 30 days. There is enough solid evidence to put man’s oldest metal to work throughout the world to help protect us from infectious disease. Tested copper alloys, such as brass or bronze also offer increased protection over non-copper containing materials such as stainless steel, painted surfaces, wood and plastics, although not nearly as effective as pure copper surfaces. Some fairly common and obvious uses in the home for elegant yet functional copper home decor include copper kitchen sinks, bathroom copper sinks, copper bar sinks, food prep sinks, copper basin, copper vanity sink, copper door knobs, copper handles, copper range hoods, copper planters, copper pot racks, copper bowls, copper sheets or copper tiles for making copper countertops and copper sink backsplashes, copper tabletops, copper chair arms, copper wall plates and switches, copper light canopies, copper ceiling fans, copper vents, copper louvers, copper cookware, etc. There are germ killing copper facades available for refrigerators, dishwashers, freezers, ice-makers, ovens and ranges. There are copper-plated kitchen appliances, copper vases, copper sculpture, copper accent pieces, copper planters, even copper flowers. Copper bathroom fixtures and copper kitchen appointments may be the most obvious places to most benefit from and utilize copper's antimicrobial power, yet manufacturers are now focusing in on all home furnishings and furniture as well as laptop, remote control and cell phone cases. The ceiling for new copper surfaced products is sky high, especially considering copper's aesthetic qualities, durability, long lifespan and green copper work as eco-friendly too. For more detailed health information regarding the necessity of copper in the human diet and medicinal purposes, I will heartily recommend starting out with these two excellent articles:Copper and Human Health and Copper in Human Health.