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Showering May Be Dangerous To Health

Some good news for the great unwashed, from the Associated Press:

Showerheads may harbor bacteria dangerous to some


WASHINGTON — In what may be the scariest shower news since Alfred Hitchcock’s "Psycho," a study says showerheads can harbor tiny bacteria that come spraying into your face when you wash. People with normal immune systems have little to fear, but these microbes could be a concern for folks with cystic fibrosis or AIDS, people who are undergoing cancer treatment or those who have had a recent organ transplant.

Researchers at the University of Colorado tested 45 showers in five states as part of a larger study of the microbiology of air and water in homes, schools and public buildings. They report their shower findings in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In general, is it dangerous to take showers? "Probably not, if your immune system is not compromised in some way," lead author Norman R. Pace says. "But it’s like anything else — there is a risk associated with it."

The researchers offer suggestions for the wary, such as getting all-metal showerheads, which microbes have a harder time clinging to.

Still, showerheads are full of nooks and crannies, making them hard to clean, the researchers note, and the microbes come back even after treatment with bleach.

People who have filtered showerheads could replace the filter weekly, added co-author Laura K. Baumgartner. And, she said, baths don’t splash microbes into the air as much as showers, which blast them into easily inhaled aerosol form

The bugs in question are Mycobacterium avium, which have been linked to lung disease in some people.

Indeed, studies by the National Jewish Hospital in Denver suggest increases in pulmonary infections in the United States in recent decades from species like M. avium may be linked to people taking more showers and fewer baths, according to Pace.

Symptoms of infection can include tiredness, a persistent, dry cough, shortness of breath, weakness and "generally feeling bad," he said.

Showerheads were sampled at houses, apartment buildings and public places in New York, Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee and North Dakota…

In previous work, the same research team has found M. avium in soap scum on vinyl shower curtains and above the water surface of warm therapy pools.

And stay tuned. Other studies under way by Pace’s team include analyses of air in New York subways, hospital waiting rooms, office buildings and homeless shelters.

The research was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

Maybe it isn’t the red wine. Maybe this is why the French live so long.

Still, maybe OSHA should fund a study to see whether living in constant fear is hazardous to our health.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Showering May Be Dangerous To Health”

  1. caligirl9 says:

    I can’t believe anyone bothered to study this. Put it in the “duh” files. Wherever there is standing water, even the tiny bit left in the shower head, there is bacteria. That’s why you run your shower before you get into it.
    It’s like the scene in the movie “Sex and the City” where Charlotte avoids eating anything in Mexico because of the water, then she takes a satisfying shower after exercising, and opens her mouth and takes a drink during said shower, resulting in raging diarrhea (which would not have happened as quickly as it did in the movie).
    Wonder how much this study cost? I could have told ’em this a whole lot cheaper—it’s common sense. Oh but sadly this nation is lacking in common sense thanks to the nanny state.

  2. Haven’t these people heard of CLEANING? As in, stick some bleach in a jar and stick the jar up so your shower head is immersed in the bleach for a minute or two? It’s really not that difficult.

    And, while I wasn’t a history major in college, I’m fairly certain that in the days when people didn’t bathe as regularly or well as they do today, disease was much more prevalent and fatal.

    But that’s just me. Methinks there’s some sort of agenda at work here. Perhaps showering will be the next taboo “un-green” thing that lefties need to target. ‘Cause, you know, don’t you dare tell them what to do with their bodies when they want to sleep around…but they have every right to come into the privacy of your bathroom and tell you what to do.

  3. proreason says:

    Well, after all, breathing is scheduled to destroy the earth withing 20 years.

    There are so many little things we could do to protect our health and make the planet better.

    Not breathe. Not take showers. Not eat. Not drive. Not live in shelters.

  4. Helena says:

    It’s a jungle out there . . . uh, in here. . . uh, wherever

  5. Reality Bytes says:

    It’s me I know but whenever everybody screams everything can kill ya, I’m reminded of Steve Martin in “The Jerk”

    “He Hates These Cans!”

    “Die Gas Pumper!”


    • proreason says:

      Good catch RB.

      Steve Martin was chanelling Obamy 30 years ago.

      Note to self: The Jerk is another good nickname for The Moron

    • Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

      Navin R. Johnson Barack H. Obama….. Typical pinko commie bas**rd!

      Great movie.

  6. Reality Bytes says:

    Correction Pro. Obama is not a Jerk. He’s a Moron! There’s a difference.

  7. Reality Bytes says:

    Pro – Speakin’ of Moron. How about this metaphor from Looney Tunes, the Moron Buzzard pickin’ a fight.


    How about a cameo appearance by Adriana Huffington herself & The Moron.


    Alinsky Rule No. 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

    Wow, there’s so many. Where should I start?

  8. Colonel1961 says:


  9. leerm8680 says:

    I don’t know… I’ve only been showering for the past 40 years, give or take a few. It hasn’t killed me yet. I need to dust off my resume… Shower Czar position should be opening up soon.

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