Anorak News | When Dishwashers Kill – Scientists Find New Way For One In Four Of Us To Die

When Dishwashers Kill – Scientists Find New Way For One In Four Of Us To Die

by | 22nd, June 2011

SCARE Story of the Day is provided by Harry Wallop, who pounds the consumer affairs beat for the Daily Telegraph:

The inside of the appliances, which four in ten homes in Britain own, are the perfect breeding ground for fungi associated with potentially deadly illnesses.

An ice-cream maker? No. The fearsome dishwaser:

The moist and hot environment, combined with the alkaline water caused by the dishwasher tablets, means that the machines appear to have created a previously unknown and possibly serious threat to human health…

A new way to die! Oh, happy day. The discovered of this new way to die is made by Dr Polona Zalar of the University of Ljubljana. You can read her  findings in the journal of Fungal Biology and here, where she talks about black yeast in glaciers. This new research is given the headline:

“Dishwashers – A man-made ecological niche accommodating human opportunistic fungal pathogens”

Elsevier, which publishes and sells the organ, prefers the headline:

“My dishwasher is trying to kill me”

Wallop tells us:

The scientists studied 189 dishwashers in 101 different homes around the world. They found 62 per cent of dishwashers contained fungi on the rubber band in the door. More than half of these included the black yeasts Exophiala dermatitidis and E. phaeomuriformis which are known to be dangerous to human health.

His words are eerily similar to the press release – one he makes no mention of.

How dangerous is the fungus? Dr Zalar says “the potential hazard they represent should not be overlooked”.

Her co-author Nina Gunde-Cimerman tells the Daily Telegraph (and she’s available for interview to make this research fly):

“One thing that is not in the report is that we tested the dishes after they had been cleaned in these dishwashers and they were full of this black yeast, so too the cutlery that you put in your mouth. We just don’t know how serious this could be.”

So. Even the scientist is saying the stuff might not be dangerous.

Wallop is undeterred:

Black yeasts are particularly dangerous for people with cystic fibrosis, as they are able to attack the lungs. They have also been found to occasionally cause fatal infections in healthy humans.

We get no facts. That press release contains very few.  ut can it be made more scarier? Science Daily tries:

The discovery of this widespread presence of extremophilic fungi in some of our common household appliances suggests that these organisms have embarked on an extraordinary evolutionary process that could pose a significant risk to human health in the future.

Or not…

Posted: 22nd, June 2011 | In: Reviews Comments (10) | TrackBack | Permalink