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GRINNELL, Iowa – Grinnell College Associate Professor of Biology Shannon Hinsa-Leasure has published a study she did in conjunction with Grinnell Regional Medical Center showing copper surfaces in a hospital setting can mean fewer bacteria.

“If my kids are going to come into this hospital, I want them to be treated for what they’re coming in for and not pick up a secondary infection,” said Hinsa-Leasure. “Copper alloys are really good at decreasing bacterial numbers, so being in the hospital room with copper it’s going to reduce the amount of bacteria around the patient.”

The study took place over 16 months with 1,500 samples from rooms at the Grinnell hospital half with copper surfaces, the other half without.

“This study is the first to demonstrate a copper alloy surfaces maintain reduced bacterial numbers in occupied and unoccupied patient rooms,” said Hinsa-Leasure.

“I think it gives us a little bit of peace of mind knowing that we are trying to do everything we can to keep our patients safe,” said Terri Kelling, who is in charge of infection prevention at the hospital. “We have taken a proactive role in trying to keep our patients here at the hospital from acquiring a health acquired infection.”

The copper surfaces do cost more but overall could save costs associated with patient infections.