High-touch surfaces in two Team Canada training facilities are about to be outfitted with antimicrobial copper to protect athletes.
Copper is the only solid metal touch surface registered by Health Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that’s proven to eliminate up to 99.9% of bacteria.
“Using antimicrobial copper at national athlete training facilities is another important step forward as we work to enhance safety through our Copper & Health program,” said Don Lindsay, Teck’s President and CEO.
The copper surfaces are going to be available in the Canadian Sport Institute in Calgary and the Canadian Sport Institute in Ontario (COPSI) for winter and summer athletes.
The project was led by Teck — official mining, metals, and minerals partner of the Canadian Olympic Committee — and the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network.
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“This is an exciting day because the results could improve our understanding of infection prevention in shared public spaces across the high-performance sport community,” said Debbie Low, CSIO’s President and CEO.
“The development of the installation is just getting started, and we are working closely with our partners to innovate on ways to cater to the unique training and equipment requirements for athletes, coaches, and practitioners. Being able to potentially reduce infection will allow them to focus on training, competing, and representing Canada on the world stage.”
Teck invested $200K — $100K in each facility — to make sure dumbbell handles, exercise equipment, and door handles will be fully outfitted.
“We hope this project will showcase the value of built environments within exercise spaces to help reduce the spread of infection on shared touch surfaces,” said Gary Davies, CSI Calgary’s President and CEO.
“This partnership with Teck and the COPSI Network aligns with our commitment to sport science and innovation and also helps us understand how Canadian mining can directly support the health and safety of Canadian athletes.”
Teck’s Copper & Health Program is aimed at increasing the use of copper surfaces in healthcare and public spaces to reduce the spread of infections. As a proven bacteria killer, it could also be extremely useful during the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They have already successfully installed antimicrobial copper coatings in healthcare centres, post-secondary institutions, and on public transit.
The installation will take place throughout 2022, after which Teck hopes it will be possible to retrofit copper in other COPSI training facilities.