Latta, Murphy, Yarmuth Reintroduce Infection Reduction Labeling Act

March 19, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), along with Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Congressman John A. Yarmuth (D-KY), today reintroduced H.R. 1424, the Infection Reduction Labeling Act. The legislation would ultimately help reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections by allowing solid antimicrobial copper products to be labeled with their infection reduction properties.

“Infection rates within hospitals are staggering,” said Latta. “More than 4 percent of patients develop an infection during their hospital stay, resulting in 100,000 deaths and more than $100 billion in additional health care costs each year. The Infection Reduction Labeling Act would enable producers to accurately display the intrinsic properties of antimicrobial copper products, encouraging their adoption in health care settings and saving lives.”

"We can save thousands of lives right now by using copper surfaces to kill deadly bacteria,” said Murphy. “Bacteria like highly infectious MRSA dies within minutes when exposed to a copper surface, but if left on plastics or other similar materials, MRSA can last for days. Since 80 percent of infectious diseases are transferred by touch, expanded use of copper fixtures and surfaces will dramatically reduce the spread of deadly hospital-acquired infections.”

Trials have indicated that the use of solid antimicrobial copper surfaces in hospital intensive care units can drastically reduce patient infection rates. While solid copper alloys have already been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are registered as an antimicrobial agent under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, current law does not permit the EPA to allow the labeling of these products as antimicrobial by producers. This legislation would permit such labeling, so these products’infection-reducing properties can be fully realized.