Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Toilet Water Cleaner than Ice in Restaurants

For the gross news of the day - a twelve year old schoolgirl, Jasmine Roberts, took part in a science fair at the New Tampa school and took the top prize for her project that compared the level of bacteria found in ice used in drinks served at a fast food restaurant with the level of bacteria in the toilets at the restaurant.

Her discovery: Seventy percent of the time, the ice had more bacteria than the toilet water.

In the article about her project, Girl's Science Project May Make You Rethink That Drink Order, we learn that "For this project, Jasmine visited five fast food restaurants near the University of South Florida. She collected ice samples from self-service dispensers inside the restaurants, as well as ice from drinks served through drive-through windows. She also collected samples of toilet water from those restaurants.

She placed the samples into sterile containers and tested them at a lab at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, where she volunteers with a USF professor.

Jasmine found that in four of the five restaurants, the ice that came from the self-serve machines had more bacteria than the toilet water. Three of the five cups of ice from the drive-through windows had more bacteria than the toilet water.

Of the bacteria found in the ice, three out of the five restaurants tested positive for fecal coliform or E. coli, organisms that come from the feces of warm-blooded animals.

Health symptoms related to the presence of coliform include cramps and diarrhea. E. coli can cause intestinal illness and, in rare cases, hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious kidney condition."


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