Rubber ducky you’re the one - to be filled with harmful bathtime bacteria

Credit: Scott Olson

Credit: Scott Olson

Does your child love to play with yellow, rubber ducks during bath time? Beware, because the toy could store some nasty bugs, according to a new report.

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Researchers from institutions in Switzerland and America recently conducted a study, published in Biofilms and Microbiome, to determine what germs the item might harbor.

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"While bathing typically means good hygiene, bath toys can serve as incubators for microbial growth. Microbes colonize nearly every natural and human-made surface, sometimes living within complex communities called biofilms," the authors wrote in the study.

For their assessment, they counted the microbes inside five ducks and found that the liquid released when four of them were squeezed contained "potentially pathogenic bacteria."

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The ducks also had a high volume, or up to 75 million cells per square centimeter, variety of bacteria and fungus. One included Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium linked with hospital-acquired infections, and certain amounts of other bacteria that can lead to eye, ear and intestinal infections.

They believe when the microbes combine with soap and human secretions, like sweat, in the tap water, the mix forms potentially harmful biofilm.

“This work sheds light on how microbes are spread by our routine activities and that we are bathed in microbes, literally,” the authors said.

While some of the microbes may lead to disease-causing strains, the researchers said they need to continue their investigations to analyze the disease risk associated with the toys.

» RELATED: Consumer safety group W.A.T.C.H. unveils 'most dangerous' toys list

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