According to recent studies, stainless steel kitchen fixtures such as sinks and taps could raise your risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Studies show that a particular strain of the bacteria is more commonly prevalent on surfaces that develop rust.
A safety engineer conducted the study using three different sinks. One was made from stainless steel, another from a mix of brass and ceramic, and the last from a brass thermostatic mixer.
For the first experiment, clean water was channelled through each type of tap. Next, the taps were turned on with water infected with Legionella anisa passing through them. This strain is commonly found on rusty elements in the Netherlands. Researchers observed the experiment for over three years.
Results from the study indicated that rust encourages the growth of the bacteria. Half of the samples from the rusty tap became infected with the microbe around the final year of the experiment.
Faucets and sinks that feature stainless steel surfaces are popular for their stylish looks. They work well with a lot of design styles and require minimal maintenance. However, the protective covering can erode over time. This makes it easier for the bacteria to multiply.
The teams of researchers involved with conducting the experiment believe that testing for Legionella should be made compulsory to keep homeowner’s safe. However, some experts have their reservations about the results. It is worth noting that the researchers used the Legionella anisa for this study. This is not the strain that causes pneumonia. No studies have been conducted to show that certain faucet or sink models are safer to use either.
How to stay safe
Home and business owners that currently own and use stainless steel kitchen fixtures need not be alarmed. There are other ways of reducing one’s chances of contracting the disease.
Legionnaires’ disease refers to a type of pneumonia that can potentially kill people. People get infected when they inhale water particles filled with the bacteria. There are approximately 50 species of the bacteria. Not all of them can make you feel ill.
The bacteria thrive in temperatures between 20°C and 45°C. To discourage the growth of the bacteria, it is important to store water 60°C. You should also use your taps regularly. Stagnant water is a good breeding ground for this type of bacteria. Flushing water on a routine basis prevents the water from standing for too long.