Friday, April 1. 2011
Germaphobes just can't catch a break. While hands-free automatic faucets have become a more popular bathroom fixture among those who believe the device is more hygienic, researchers conducting a John Hopkins Hospital study discovered they actually contain more bacteria than manual faucets.
During a seven week period, researchers tested electronic and manual faucets in patient care areas across the hospital. After analyzing the cultured water samples from 20 electronic faucets, the research team found the bacteria Legionella growing in half of them. However, only 15 percent of water cultures from the manual faucets showed traces of the bacteria, which can cause Legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia.
When scientists took apart the electronic faucets they found Legionella and other bacteria on all of the main valves. Dr. Emily Snyder, who led the study, said the decreased water flow in those faucets may increase the rate of bacteria because there isn't as much water traveling through to flush them out.
While many people might expect public bathrooms to be infested with germs, MSN Health reports that people may be surprised at what objects may have the most bacteria. Restaurant menus, soap dispensers, grocery carts and even restaurant lemon wedges are crawling with potentially disease-causing bacteria that could raise health insurance premiums.
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