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article imageMany dishwashers contain harmful fungi

By Tim Sandle     Oct 3, 2013 in Health
A potentially pathogenic fungus has found a home living in the extreme conditions of the dishwasher. This comes from a survey of several households.
New research suggests that dishwashers make for ideal habitats for what are termed 'extremotolerant' fungi (of which several types are black yeasts called Exophiala). Such fungi are tolerant to heat, detergents and salt. This not only allows them to survive the dishwasher environment, but also to thrive and grow.
The presence of undesirable microorganisms comes from a survey conducted of 177 private homes from 101 cities on 6 continents. These survey results revealed that, of the 900 samples taken, 62% of the dishwashers contained fungi on the rubber band in door.
Some of these fungi are potentially pathogenic to people. According to HealthLine, adults and children taking antibiotics and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to mycoses (fungal infections) in the lungs or on the skin. The survey results suggest that regular wiping down of the insides of dishwashers with a mild disinfectant is a good idea. Products such as baking soda, vinegar, and bleach are relatively effective at removing fungi.
The findings have been published in the journal Fungal Biology. The paper is titled “Dishwashers – A man-made ecological niche accommodating human opportunistic fungal pathogens.”
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