Home Repair


Having a Shower May Not Be As Clean As You First Thought

Having a Shower May Not Be As Clean As You First Thought

It will come as a surprise to many, but new information bought to light has revealed that showering may actually be bad for your health. This information has come from a study that was carried out in America. It has been claimed by the scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder that nearly a third of shower heads harbour ‘significant levels of mycobacterium avium’ – a pathogen linked to pulmonary disease.

Further tests carried out showed that the levels of bacteria found were more than 100 times the background levels in municipal water.

This study indicated that every time we turn on the shower, it is possible that we could be coming into contact with pathogen. The consequences of inhaling these pathogen water droplets can be quite harmful for our health. The symptoms experienced would be a persistent dry cough, tiredness and shortness of breath. However, the people behind the study have reported that people with weaker immune systems are more likely to be vulnerable to these symptoms.

Should you be worried?

For those of you who are starting to reconsider having a shower, do not act too hastily as the UK bathroom industry has responded. The UK bathroom industry has stressed that people in the UK should not be too concerned with these findings. A strong reason not to be concerned is because these tests were carried out in the US based on just 50 shower heads. As there has not been a similar study here yet we cannot get too worried. Furthermore it is quite likely that a study conducted here would produce different results as different materials are used here.

This study has been beneficial in pointing out potential health risks, and many of us can avoid these problems by keeping our shower heads clean. The concern about these findings have been far reaching as the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) said that the UK shower manufacturers have experienced an unprecedented high volume of calls from worried consumers about these findings. BMA says that consumers should not be too worried as the UK carries out rigorous tests in order to ensure that the materials used do not support the growth of microbes which allow the formation of bacteria when in contact with water.

So what can be taken from this study?

Everyday we are exposed to microbes in different ways. We would find it quite tough to avoid mycobacterium avium as it is known to occur in water, particularly in hot water supplies and aerosolised water, such as fountains. For many of us this is not particularly worrying as our bodies have a good way of defending against bacteria. For those who have weaker immune systems, they should be more careful. It is important to keep remembering that the study was just based on 50 shower heads so it is difficult to generalise how widespread this problem is. This is especially the case for us in the UK as this test was carried out in the US.

Feeling tempted to bathe the old fashioned way?

So are the experts encouraging people to ditch the shower and go back to having more traditional baths? Not really if you normally a healthy person with no specific immune system problems. If you do have a weaker immune system, some extra caution might be required.