Whilst washing your windscreen have you ever thought, ‘gee, this is dangerous’? Neither have we, but, over in old English town, UK, recent research has uncovered some connections between windscreen washer fluid and Legionnaires’ disease.
Dr Isabel Oliver from the Health Protection Agency in the UK has found connections between those with Legionnaires’ disease and frequent car users. The HPA carried out a questionnaire on people who had the disease and results concluded that professional drivers and those who spent plenty of time behind the wheel were at a greater risk.
With this research they then took it further to pinpoint a possible reason behind this. They found that the warm water in the washer fluid bottle was an ideal breeding ground for the Legionella bacterium, which when inhaled causes pneumonia.
The advice then? Dr Isabel Oliver and the team found one in five cars had traces of the Legionella bacterium in their washer bottles, but, found it in no cars that used a chemical cleaning additive in the washer liquid. So if you regularly use some form of soap or cleaning agent in your washer bottle, you have nothing to worry about it seems.
Legionnaires’ disease is fairly rare and in most cases very random, although there were 345 cases of the disease in the UK during 2009 alone.