Sep 15, 2009 12:53 PM by Jamie Smith

Harmful bacteria may be lurkng in your showerhead

What's lurking in your shower may be just as scary as what was in Hitchcock's "Psycho" ... well, for some people. A new study shows potentially harmful bacteria hide inside showerheads, and blast out right into your face when you turn the water on.

Those bacteria, pathogens called M. avium, fly out of showerheads and can be inhaled. Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder analyzed the gunk that formed on the inside of about 50 showerheads. The bacteria were found in about a third of them.

Inhaling the bacteria might lead to breathing problems, cough and weakness. This probably isn't a problem for most of us, but it could be for those with compromised immune systems like pregnant women, the elderly and people already fighting off diseases.

The bacteria remained even after researchers cleaned the showerheads with bleach. They say plastic showerheads tended to harbor more of the bacteria, so metal ones might be a good alternative.



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