What threat do washing machines pose to people
Categories: Health and MedicineBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/what-threat-do-washing-machines-pose-to-people
If you are asked to list dangerous household appliances, then you will probably remember gas stoves, electric meat grinders and microwave ovens. Hardly anyone will name a washing machine, and in vain. Scientists claim that these seemingly harmless devices are dangerous both for humans and on a global scale for the entire planet.
Statistics collected around the world indicate that in recent years there has been an outbreak of Klebsiella oxytoca infection. It is an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that causes colitis and sepsis. Patients end up in intensive care units and do not always survive. The last major outbreak of a dangerous disease was recorded in Bonn, Germany, in 2019. Then most of the cases were infants.
Microbiologists who have investigated this problem have found that washing machines installed in hospitals are to blame. In an article in the journal Medicalexpress, scientists have revealed a secret. It turned out that the deadly bacterium feels great and actively multiplies in some nodes of machines. Most of them were in the compartments for washing powder and under the rim of the hatch, that is, under the rubber seals of the door.
Washing with boiling and just with high water temperature destroys bacteria. But low-temperature and economical modes can not affect the colonies of microorganisms in any way. In most cases, for reasons of saving energy, medical institutions do not wash in hot water. Bacteria with clean things get on the human body, and then end up in the gastrointestinal tract.
But if hot and long washing cycles are better for a person, then in the case of ecology, the opposite is true. From the point of view of environmental protection, cold and fast modes cause less damage. The problem is not only in the irrational use of energy.
Modern fabrics often contain plastic, which, when heated, is actively destroyed and ends up in the environment through the sewer. Microplastics, about the dangers of which so much has been said, destroys life in rivers, lakes and oceans. It turned out to be quite easy to prove the participation of washing machines in this.
Ecologists took samples of coastal sand on 6 continents. Microplastic was found in each of the samples, the origin of which was found out. Up to 80 percent of the contamination turned out to be acrylic and polyester particles. It is these polymers that are used in the production of synthetic fabrics.
But this did not seem enough to scientists. To prove that plastic gets into the ocean from washing machines, an experiment was conducted. The volunteers were given everyday clothes made of synthetics and they washed them in their home machines. Each device was equipped with a special catcher on the drain. After the experiment was completed, the contents of the filters were checked and the same was found there as on the beaches.
But that's not all. Another danger of washing machines was recognized as drying of washed things. The results of the study of the issue have recently appeared in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. During the drying process, the same microplastic particles that pollute the water enter the atmosphere. But here the risk turned out to be even greater and all because of the very bacteria Klebsiella oxytoca.
Together with the smallest synthetic fibers, microorganisms travel long distances. They easily enter a person's lungs when breathing and into the stomach along with food and drinks. One household dryer produces 120 million microfibres in just a year, which end up in the environment and in the human body.