EU Directive threat to Legionella Control

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Following an EU Level Biocidal Products Directive banning the use of elemental copper in water. From 1 February 2013 it will be illegal to sell or use water treatment systems that use elemental copper in order to add copper ions to water as a biocide. It will also be illegal to supply the copper needed for their use.

The HSE has advised that their “primary concern is that legionella control is not compromised. Businesses and organisations have a responsibility to manage the risks from legionella and it is essential that these duties continue to be met.” The HSE has reported that it intends to pursue an ’essential use derogation’ for use of copper in legionella control systems in the UK.
On the other side of the pond, in the USA, a Pittsburgh Hospital has recorded 5 cases of Legionnaires’ disease. The hospital has historically had an issue with the control of Legionella Bacteria in its water system until a Copper Silver Ionisation system was installed. Claims have been made by experts that the maintenance of the Ionisation system has been mismanaged or worse still turned off, allowing Legionella Bacterium to proliferate.
With this in mind, we believe the consequences of turning off Copper Silver Ionisation units in buildings where temperature control and Chloride Dioxide have failed to manage the risk in the past, could be catastrophic.
As a Legionella specialist firm, HBE urges the HSE to step in and put a stop to this extra uncertainty that organisations simply don’t need right now. After all, the HSE themselves support use of Copper Silver Ionisation so the need to gain ‘essential use derogation’ for the UK with immediate effect is indeed ‘essential’.

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