Health: watch out for the ugly ducklings in our bathtubs

These plastic toys are not as innocent as they look: according to a study conducted by Swiss and American researchers, they would contain potentially pathogenic bacteria.

The plastic ducks are the favorite companions of the little ones, and sometimes even the biggest ones in the bath, and yet, they can be dangerous for the health. According to Swiss and American researchers, these plastic toys can contain millions of bacteria. In their study, 4 out of 5 analyzed ducks contained potentially pathogenic germs.

Rubber ducks are a popular toys, but despite their pleasant and innocent appearance, researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Illinois have uncovered the appealing aspect of these bath-time companions. They are full of bacteria. //

- Micropia (@Micropia) April 12, 2018

Ducks placed in real conditions

The environment of our bathrooms is an ideal setting for bacteria and other fungi: it is hot and humid. On the basis of this, researchers from the Eawag Water Research Institute, the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the University of Illinois have conducted research on ducks that have already served . They have collected the layer of biofilms present inside, and have, in parallel, conducted tests on new ducks. For eleven weeks, they were placed in conditions identical to those of a bathroom: one group was in clean water, the other was immersed in water similar to that of the bath, with sweat, leftover soap, bacteria on the skin, etc.

The paradise of bacteria

The results of their research may disgust you. On each square centimeter of plastic inside a duck, they found between 5 and 75 million cells. 80% of the ducks contained potentially pathogenic genes, such as Legionella. Scientists have found that for bacteria and microbes, these plastic toys are a boon. The rubber that composes them contains organic carbon, which is a food source for bacteria. People who bathe distribute in the water bacteria and nutrients that will accelerate the development of microbes.

Potentially dangerous bacteria

Contaminated plastic ducks can cause gastrointestinal problems, eye or ear irritations especially when used by younger, more fragile children. According to scientists, the use of higher quality polymers to make ducks could prevent the development of bacteria and fungi. Before investing in bath ducks, it is better to think twice.

Video: The ugly ducklings: biofilms in bath toys (November 2019).