A recent study by Penn State University, the US Department of Agriculture and Rochester’s own Bausch and Lomb found that the nasty bugs that infect humans are commonly found – perhaps unsurprisingly – in our sinks as well.
Matching the DNA signatures of fungi found in 161 sinks in various locations to those found in human infections, the scientists were able to determine that about 66 percent of sink drains had at least one strain of the Fusarium fungus which is known to infect humans. This suggests at least some connection between the infection rate in sinks and in humans. Clearly, humans are exposed to this fungus, but what the relationship is may not be entirely clear.
However, at least one case of Fusarium infection, contact lens wearers in both Southeast Asia and North America contracted the infections from what researchers believed was an improper use of the sterile lens solutions. Exposure to infections from the bathroom sink seem to have played a direct role, and this research provides further evidence.
Even more comforting: analyzing the DNA in sinks revealed 32 previously-unidentified and as many as four completely new strains of the Fusarium fungus.
So, I guess the lesson here is: clean your sink.