Our bathroom is a biohazardous area

An invisible, trillions-strong, hoard of microbes may have set up camp in your shower, a scientist warned today. The bathroom bugs could present a threat to health, especially for vulnerable people with weak immune systems, said Professor Norman Pace, from the University of Colorado.

Just one square inch of the average used vinyl shower curtain could harbour billions of the “soap scum” organisms, he said. Every time the shower was turned on, water hitting the curtain threw up clouds of bacteria which could fly into the lungs and any open wounds.

Prof Pace discovered the bacteria’s hiding place after testing four shower curtains at his laboratory in Boulder, USA for genetic fingerprints. He told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle: “Soap scum on your shower curtain is a lush bed of microbes. It contains quite robust micro-organisms that can survive for a long time.

"When you turn the shower on, as the water hits the shower curtain it stirs up all those micro-organisms, and you become enmeshed in an aerosol effect," &to=http://www.scotsman.com' target=_blank>Scotsman.com

It's a microbial world, says Norman P. Pace, a researcher at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Then there's the sponge you use to rinse dishes at the sink. Yep, loaded with thriving bacteria.

If this makes you want to go relax in a hot tub, think again. The air wafting from the hot water is probably loaded with microbes, some of them able to give you a hacking cough.

"We live in a microbial world and I find it appalling that this is ignored by science," Pace said Saturday at the national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He discovered the colonies of soap scum bacteria when, out of curiosity, he took a sample from his own shower curtain and examined it under a microscope.

"I was amazed," he said. Later studies of shower curtains from other homes found the same thing.

"When you step into a shower, you are enmeshed in a bio-aerosol," he said.

Most of the soap scum bacteria is harmless to the healthy. But for people with compromised immune systems, such as patients with AIDS or on chemotherapy or with open wounds, some of the germs can be deadly, &to=http://www.kansascity.com' target=_blank>Kansascity

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