Saving the World One Handle at a Time-Which Metal has the Greatest Antibacterial Properties?
Geoffrey Yee, John Demianczuk
St George's School
Floor Location : J 193 H

The Oligodynamic effect is the toxic effect of metal ions on living cells, algae, molds, spores, fungi, and viruses. Limiting the spread of bacterial infection is extremely important in today’s modern world, where the propagation of diseases is high due to our close urban environment and high population density. Overuse of chemicals and antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria, further threatening human populations. Use of this specific metal in frequently touched surfaces such as push plates, door handles, sink handles, and elevator buttons may be able to limit the spread of bacteria, and therefore limit the spread of disease. Our goal is to determine which metal is best at limiting the growth of bacteria, and therefore limiting the spread of disease. In our study, we tested five metal samples in 4 environmental areas. Our study has identified Zinc as the most cost efficient and effective antibacterial metal on high touch surfaces, while Stainless Steel was identified as having little or no antibacterial effect. In most commercial areas, Staniless Steel is commonly used on high touch surfaces, which contributes no protective effect to the population interfacing with the surface. A practical application of our experimental finding is that manufactures should coat high touch surfaces with Zinc to help limit the spread of disease.