Your Dishwasher May Have ‘Killer Bugs’ Living Inside

For many householders, it is most sparkling area of the kitchen. But the inside of people’s dishwashers could be harbouring potentially lethal bugs, according to scientists.

The inside of the appliances, which four in ten homes own, are the perfect breeding ground for fungi associated with potentially deadly illnesses.

The moist and hot environment, combined with the alkaline water caused by the dishwasher tablets, means that the machines appear to have created a previously unknown and possibly serious threat to human health, the research paper has suggested.

The scientists studied 189 dishwashers in 101 different homes around the world. They found 62 per cent of dishwashers contained fungi on the rubber band in the door. More than half of these included the black yeasts Exophiala dermatitidis and E. phaeomuriformis which are known to be dangerous to human health.

Writing in the journal Fungal Biology, Dr Polona Zalar of the University of Ljubljana, said that “the potential hazard they represent should not be overlooked”.

Her co-author Nina Gunde-Cimerman told The Daily Telegraph: “One thing that is not in the report is that we tested the dishes after they had been cleaned in these dishwashers and they were full of this black yeast, so too the cutlery that you put in your mouth. We just don’t know how serious this could be.”

Black yeasts are particularly dangerous for people with cystic fibrosis, as they are able to attack the lungs. They have also been found to occasionally cause fatal infections in healthy humans.

Both Exophiala species displayed remarkable tolerance to heat, high salt concentrations, aggressive detergents and to both acid and alkaline water.

This explains why the fungi survived even in high temperatures between 60 º to 80 º C, and despite the use of detergents and salt in the dishwasher.

This is the latest in a long line of health scares to raise concerns about everyday consumer goods. Which?, the consumer group, found that computer keyboards contained five times as many bugs as a lavatory on average. Meanwhile tests on shoppers’ bags, by the University of Arizona, revealed half contained traces of E.coli, the food poisoning bug that killed over 20 people in Europe over the last month.

Dishwasher manufacturers declined to comment.

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Posted by Jay White on Jun 22 2011. Filed under SCIENCE. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “Your Dishwasher May Have ‘Killer Bugs’ Living Inside”

  1. Karen

    So what are we supposed to do to get rid of this from our dishwashers?

    • sherri

      Household bleach will kill fungus….so I am now, after reading this, going to clean the rubber band with bleach water….then I am going to run an empty load with some bleach in the dishwasher and nothing else. Maybe doing this once a week or every couple of weeks will keep the fungus under control. Hoping so anyway.

  2. [...] Yουr Dishwasher Mау Hаνе 'Killer Bugs' Income Surrounded b&#… This entry was posted in White Goods. Bookmark the [...]

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