Schools Unclean and a Likely Source of Infections, Says Survey

An antimicrobial copper handrail installed in a Greek school

A survey of US parents found 77% think schools are 'not very clean' and 53% believe they were the most likely source of their family's colds and other infections in the last year.

11th October 2016

With children back in school, parents favour two strategies for combatting the problem: 93% say kids should wash their hands more often, and 85% want school facilities managers to consider replacing frequently-touched surfaces such as door handles, taps and toilet flushes with antimicrobial copper equivalents.

Copper is a powerful antimicrobial with rapid, broad-spectrum efficacy against bacteria and viruses, and has been shown to kill the pathogens that cause infections, including Influenza A, E.coli and norovirus. It shares this benefit with a range of copper alloys—such as brasses and bronzes—forming a family of materials called ‘antimicrobial copper’.

Touch surfaces made from solid antimicrobial copper are already used in hospitals and care homes around the world to reduce the spread of infections, supporting key infection control measures such as good hand hygiene and regular surface cleaning and disinfection. They are also seeing use in other spaces where people gather and infections spread, such as schools, gyms and transport hubs including airports, train and bus stations.

The new research—surveying 1,000 adults in July 2016—was commissioned by CuVerro, a unit of Olin Brass, and carried out by Pulse Opinion Research, a licensee of Rasmussen Reports. CuVerro is a US manufacturer and distributor of copper and copper alloy components, one of many companies registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as selling products permitted to make public health claims in the US.

Schools in Brazil, France, Greece and Japan are leading the way with installing antimicrobial copper touch surfaces to augment regular surface cleaning and hand washing, helping to provide a more hygienic environment for students, teachers and visitors. American schools look set to follow suit.

To view details of existing installations, visit our Case Studies and filter by Sector > Schools and Public Buildings. For more information on CuVerro, visit their website:

Copper and copper alloys are engineering materials that are durable, colourful and recyclable and are widely available in various product forms suitable for a range of manufacturing purposes. Copper and its alloys offer a suite of materials for designers of functional, sustainable and cost-effective products.

Copper and certain copper alloys have intrinsic antimicrobial properties (so-called ‘Antimicrobial Copper’) and products made from these materials have an additional, secondary benefit of contributing to hygienic design. Products made from Antimicrobial Copper are a supplement to, not a substitute for standard infection control practices. It is essential that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.

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