Published: January 7, 2019

    Bathroom Bacteria: Where It’s Lurking

    Bacteria are an inescapable part of life. Your body acts as an entire ecosystem for a host of friendly and potentially harmful bacteria. In fact, at this moment you could be hosting 6 billion bacteria in your mouth alone. Some of these are helpful probiotics that aid in digestion, but if you don’t practice proper oral hygiene your mouth could attract bad bacteria that cause tooth loss and gum disease.

    Your mouth isn’t the only place where you can find bacteria. Bacteria are all around us, especially in high-traffic areas of our home. Places like the bathroom where we bathe and clean ourselves are actually some of the most likely locations for dense bacteria concentrations.

    While you probably take care of mold when you see it at the corners of your shower, a new study reveals that one of the unlikely locales where bathroom bacteria is lurking is in your showerhead. And what’s worse? The scientists in charge of the study found a link between this bacteria and lung infections.

    What Kind of Bacteria Is in My Showerhead?

    A team of researchers led by scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, conducted the comprehensive new study that was published in the scientific journal mBio. The scientists who conducted the study worked alongside citizen scientists to collect 656 samples of showerhead biofilm from various residences in America and Europe, analyzing the bacteria content found and tracking any patterns that developed.

    The goal of the study was to better understand the makeup of bacteria in our showers and what potentially threats they posed. “By harnessing DNA sequencing technology, we were able to identify which bacterial species that lived in showerhead slime, and how abundant they were,” noted lead study author Dr. Matthew Gebbert in an interview with Sci-News.

    Most of the bacteria that can become aerosolized and inhaled when the shower is in use are likely harmless. However, this is not always the case,” noted Dr. Gebbert. The study authors found that bacteria within the genus Mycobacterium are commonly found in showerhead biofilms.

    How Can These Bacteria Hurt Me?

    Mycobacterium can cause NTM lung infections. According to the American Lung Association inhaling Mycobacterium can cause a slowly destructive lung disease in susceptible individuals, especially young children and the elderly. Infections can become chronic and require ongoing treatment, typically entailing 12 months of antibiotics or more.

    The abundance of mycobacterial communities was found to vary between samples depending on geographic location and water source. Specifically, homes that received municipal water treated with chlorine disinfectants tested for particularly high abundances of certain harmful mycobacteria. The study authors linked drinking water full of chlorine and chloramines with higher instances of this unwanted bacterial pathogen.

    How to Protect Your Family

    One of the simplest ways to reduce the bacteria lurking in your showerhead is to remove the chlorine and chloramines from your tap water. For best results install a Whole House Filtration System with added UV Protection. Our signature carbon filter reduces problem chemicals like chlorine and chloramines before they have a chance to cause havoc in your tap water and in your shower. Plus, the UV disinfection system destroys 99.9% of harmful microorganisms like cysts, giardia, and E. Coli that are resistant to chlorine treatment and can cause waterborne illness.

    You should also clean your showerhead regularly, and replace it when necessary. We offer the Pelican Premium Shower Filter for families who want to target aggravating chemicals like chlorine directly in their shower. By following the maintenance and filter replacement instructions included you can limit the amount of harmful bacteria within your showerhead. Order a shower filter soon and get 70% factory-direct savings!