The coronavirus pandemic might make buildings sick too

Potential waterborne diseases may be developing in unused pipes. Image: Unsplash/Abigail Lynn

Caitlin R. Proctor
Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellow, Purdue University
Andrew J. Whelton
Associate Professor of Civil, Environmental & Ecological Engineering, Purdue University
William Rhoads
Research Scientist, Virginia Tech
Our Impact
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how COVID-19 is affecting economies, industries and global issues
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


Copper can leach from plumbing pipes and valves, as it did in this hotel bathtub. Ingesting water with high levels of copper can cause illnesses.Andrew Whelton, CC BY-ND
Built up water can contain copper from pipes, which can cause illnesses if ingested. Image: Andrew Whelton, CC BY-ND
Cut-open shower pipes reveal a biofilm with metal deposits.Caitlin Proctor/Purdue University, CC BY-ND
Building managers can test their water for bacteria and metal deposits. Image: Caitlin Proctor/Purdue University, CC BY-ND
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
COVID-19InfrastructureGlobal Health
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Here's how air pollution increases COVID risk

Samuel J. White and Philippe B. Wilson

March 23, 2023

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2023 World Economic Forum