Hands-Free Faucets Expose People to More Germs than Manual Faucets

As technology improves, so does our ability to fight or prevent exposure to germs, or so we think.  Researchers have found that an advance meant to reduce our contact with germs – hands-free faucets – may actually expose us to more of them, Time reported.Johns Hopkins Hospital researchers found that hands-free, automatic faucets actually harbored more germs than the old-fashioned manual types that users must turn on themselves.  In fact, about 50 percent of the water samples from electronic faucets tested positive for legionella and other bacteria, compared to only 15 percent of the samples from manual faucets that did.

Dr. Emily Sydnor, a co-investigator for the study, did stress however that the bacterial growth she found would not pose a health risk for healthy individuals.

However, the study results do bring up concerns for hospitalized patients with compromised immune system.  As a result of the study, Hopkins officials have chosen to go back to manual faucets in a new building under construction on campus that would include patient rooms.

Though it seems counterintuitive that automatic faucets would have more germs than manual, seeing as how they require less contact, researchers say the problem lies in the plumbing.  While plumbing for manual faucets is relatively straightforward, with a pipe each for hot and cold water, the automatic faucets are more complex, involving various valves, screens and filters.

The extra machinery, as it turns out, is a perfect nesting ground for bacteria and other pathogens.

Click here to read more from Time.com.

Share: