Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, Brazil is using simple interior design in hopes of combating the spread of infectious diseases.
With some 10,000 people using the airport’s new parking facility on a daily basis, many of whom have compromised immune systems due to fatigue or stress, the airport is relying on a basic design choice to help reduce the odds of those travelers getting sick.
Conhongas Airport’s new parking development features copper finishes on many of its most commonly touched surfaces, such as handrails, elevator guardrails and countertops. Because copper is known to have antimicrobial properties, it is believed that adding copper finishes will greatly reduce the number of germs passed from passenger to passenger through contact with those surfaces.
Scientific research backs the airport’s decision. Copper and some alloys actually have antibacterial qualities.
After construction on the parking facility was completed, bacterial residue tests confirmed the impact of using copper finishes. While stainless steel touch surfaces have been shown to hold up to 800 colony-forming units, that number dropped to a mere 10 on similar surfaces with copper finishes.
As airports carry people from around the globe, the use of copper to help limit the spread of illness could make a massive difference in preventing illnesses from spreading to far-flung destinations.
With the findings in Conhongas Airport’s parking facility, copper could become commonplace in public spaces. Airports could obviously stand to benefit from finishing many surfaces with copper coatings, and the practice could easily be used in other locales ranging from shopping malls to health care facilities.
Adding to the allure is the fact that copper offers more than health benefits; it is also a sound aesthetic choice.
Should Conhongas Airport’s experiment show a marked improvement in curbing the spread of infectious diseases, the metal will undoubtedly become a true staple in such facilities, making places such as airports safer for all.