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


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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
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