As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with germs in our homes, said Elizabeth Armstrong Moore in CNET News, now we get to “fret over another perpetrator: the showerhead.” According to a study from the University of Colorado at Boulder, 30 percent of our showerheads host a “slimy biofilm” with unsafe levels of Mycobacterium avium—a pathogen linked to lung disease. You might get a face (and lung) full of it when you turn on the shower.
That’s “bad news for those of you who like to keep clean,” said Doug Aamoth in CrunchGear. But as the Colorado “eggheads” only tested some 50 fixtures in nine cities, “it’s not time to swear off showering altogether just yet.” For those at risk from M. avium, though—pregnant women and people with immune deficiencies—you might want to pick up a new, metal (not plastic) showerhead.
Or start taking baths, said Jennifer LaRue Huget in The Washington Post. Study author Norman Pace posits that the rise in pulmonary infections from M. avium might be due to people taking more showers than baths these days. Healthy, non-pregnant people are probably not at risk, but “the bacteria are impervious to chlorine,” so if you’re at risk, forget the bleach and change heads every so often.