Copper on high-touch surfaces

A new joint study to test the role of copper in killing bacteria on high-touch transit surfaces

The TTC is participating in a joint study to test whether copper kills bacteria on high-touch surfaces.


The project is the result of a partnership between the following organizations:

  • Teck Resources Limited
  • Toronto Transit Commission
  • TransLink
  • Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH)
  • Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Coalition for Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction (CHAIR)
  • UBC Department of Materials Engineering
  • VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation
  • Westech Cleaning Audit Systems

This is phase two of this study. Phase one was done in Vancouver on select TransLink vehicles. During phase one of the study more than 1,400 samples where collected and analyzed by Vancouver Coastal Health at Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia. The trial found that copper can kill up to 99.9 per cent of bacteria on transit surfaces.


The purpose of the phase two study is to seek confirmation of the results from phase one, while also examining whether or not copper plays a role in killing viruses (as part of a laboratory study), as well as bacteria.


Three types of copper applications (functional copper surface layers, copper alloys and copper decals) will be applied to the stanchions on select TTC buses, streetcars and subway trains as well as on a number of TransLink vehicles. Samples will be analyzed from copper surfaces as well as non-copper surfaces on transit by VCH’s medical microbiology team, supported by Mount Sinai Hospital/University Health Network in Toronto and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

The results of this trial could improve understanding of options for infection prevention for the transit industry and other industries that rely on shared public spaces.

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