Page (fading_october) wrote in ontd_political,

Legionnaires Disease linked to windscreen wash

If you use standard tap water in your windshield washer fluid reservoir instead of a cleaner, you may have effectively turned your vehicle into a biological weapon. Sure, that sounds cool and all, but according to BBC News, the only person you're going to be hurting is yourself. As it turns out, using plain water can cause the washer fluid system to become a breeding ground for Legionella bacterium – the same nastiness that causes Legionaires' Disease and pneumonia. Spray your windshield and the bacteria becomes airborne, allowing it to easily enter your lungs and wreak havoc with your immune system.

Researchers discovered the hive of scum and villainy lurking under the hood by attempting to discern why professional drivers were five times more likely to become ill than their amateur counterparts. After a little scientific sleuthing, the lab coats unearthed the bacteria. So do the world a favor and top off your windshield washer fluid reservoir with some sort of purpose-built cleaner. The stuff will kill the infection-causing bacteria and will keep the fluid from freezing in the winter. Not bad for 99 cents a gallon.


Research has been called for to determine whether Legionnaire’s Disease may be connected to windscreen wash, or lack of it.

The Health Protection Agency has asked for the research after expressing fears that the disease could be linked to the lack of appropriate screen wash in a vehicles windscreen water reservoir

A spokesperson for the HPA spokeswoman said a preliminary study by the agency had suggested there was a strong association between the two, with definite evidence that Legionnaires disease incidents occur around a lack of wiper fluid. The HPA now wants to investigate if wiper fluid could be somehow used as a preventative treatment for the illness.

Legionnaire’s disease, named after an outbreak of pneumonia-like symptoms that killed 29 American Army veterans at a Legion convention in 1976, is uncommon in the UK. It can usually be traced to various water aerosol systems such as cooling towers, showers and air conditioning units.

However, after an unseasonably high number of new cases were reported in the summer of 2006, a preliminary investigation was undertaken. It discovered that professional drivers suffered from a far greater rate of infection, possibly due to passing through outside sources.

The research also indicated that non-professional drivers that did not have windscreen wash in their water reservoirs were at even greater risk, as the stagnant, warm water offered the perfect breeding ground for the deadly Legionella bacteria. This water can filter into the cabin through windows or air vents. Cars that showed full doses of screen wash all tested negative to the disease, leading the HPA to suggest that up to 20 per cent of cases may have been avoided through use of screen wash.


For some reason I found this really interesting. I don't drive, but I've seen my parents do this. Have you ever used water as a replacement?

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