I’m excited to learn this information. On the one hand, I have been leaning toward working with brass and copper, and this is one more reason. Then, again, sometimes I just wonder , because I have very sensitive skin, what’s going on with the materials I use.
Brass, copper, and silver have been found to be self-disinfecting, and have the ability to inactivate such bacteria as E. Coli and staphylococcus.
Take brass, for example. Because brass has been found to automatically disinfect itself within 8 hours, and destroys 99% of fungi it comes into contact with within 6 hours, brass door handles/openers or doorknobs are popular options for healthcare facilities.
Copper will destroy mold completely within 6 hours of contact. Its disinfecting properties take effect within 15 minutes after contact
Silver is a common material for water storage tanks, and such, because it disinfects bacteria cells in water within as little as 12 hours.
.On the other hand, bacteria can survive on stainless steel, the most commonly-used material for hospital equipment, as well as equipment used in food processing, will survive for up to 30 days.
Adapted from http://www.wisegeek.com article