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Scientists have recently discovered that bacteria in sinks are a result of hand washing. Specifically, they realized that this practice promotes microbes that live in domestic sink plumbing.

This was based on a report by Phys.org in the most prominent bacteria research on sinks outside hospitals. Researchers from the University of Reading conducted the study.

Hand washing to fight COVID

Study authors discovered that microorganisms akin to bacteria generally stay down the drain after hand washing. They also discovered differences between bacteria families located in diverse plumbing systems like P-trap and U-bend.

According to Dr. Hyun Soon Gweon, a lecturer at the University of Reading, the emphasis on hand washing to contain the spread of COVID 19 has shed light on the importance of hygiene and the need to have well designed and clean sinks.

Dr. Hyun also added that the difference in microbes found in different buildings might reveal several factors, such as design and habitation. Essentially, the study was done in sinks around over 120 non- clinic locations around the University of Reading. The sinks included some situated in bathrooms, teaching, and social spaces.

Microbe families are found in the sinks.

The researchers discovered a family of microbes known as bacteria under the sinks. They specified that this phylum consists of Salmonella and E. Coli pathogens, which can cause severe infections, although the concentration of bacteria from that family was low.

On the other hand, higher concentrations of some common bacteria like Moraxellaceae and Burkholderiaceae were discovered. Both of these can cause infections but are more often than not harmless to humans.

The plumbing system had a significant role to play on which family was more common. Additionally, below sink filters were found to have Moraxellaceae.

Human involvement

Meanwhile, P-trap sinks which are made of a P-trap drainage style, were found to have Burkholderiaceae. The study authors explained that the type of microbes found in the sinks could also be attributed to what humans ‘directly drain down there.’