Does your family suffer non-seasonal allergies, a constant sniffle, or a general malaise? Do recurring sneezes, watery eyes, or more serious lung problems plague a member of your household? Does anyone have unexplained, non-hereditary asthma, stomach disorders, or bronchitis? While there could be a number of reasons for these conditions, the source of the problem may be lurking under your kitchen sink.
According to a CBS news article, there are approximately one thousand times more bacteria in your kitchen sink than there are in your toilet and surrounding area (CBS News: Germs’ Hiding Places). These bacteria remain in your garbage disposal, breeding and multiplying. With the basket cover off the sink drain, some of these contaminants may permeate the air you breathe, causing allergies and lung problems. Bacteria such as salmonella, while it does not normally lurk in the air, may back wash from the garbage disposal and transfer to your hands. This may cause life-threatening stomach problems and diarrhea.
While most cooks wash their hands before cooking, how many are as fastidious about repeating the process immediately after cooking and before eating? Fitness Magazine states: “bacteria from the sink can spread throughout the kitchen, including faucets and door handles, if you don’t wash your hands after you prepare a meal.” (Fitness Magazine: Germ and Bacteria Hot-Spots: 12 Things You Should Know.)
My own family’s history illustrates this point. We suffered from allergies all year round as well as chronic bronchitis and asthma. We noticed a slight smell coming from the kitchen drain, but didn’t think much about it. I poured baking soda down the drain once each week and sprayed air freshener at other times. While baking soda can kill germs, there are just too many of them in the kitchen disposal. Unless you fanatically clean your drain on a daily basis, the germs will overwhelm baking soda.
Once I learned that the disposal may have caused our health problems, I got rid of it. When we replaced the sink, we opted out of reattaching the disposal that, according to the plumber, was still in perfect shape. He thought I was crazy, but I insisted on dumping it. Since that time, my family suffers no more lung problems and my son can now participate in his dance class without frequent rests to catch his breath. Although we still have seasonal allergies, they are finally seasonal and not year round. We feel that our home is cleaner and healthier overall. I have not missed the garbage disposal. I keep a supply of plastic bags near my sink and throw all food wastes in there as I cook, and I love the fact that my kitchen no longer smells!
If you are at your wits end trying to figure out what is causing your family’s health problems, consider looking under your kitchen sink. You may find that your disposal is an unnecessary and potentially hazardous appliance. Your whole family may thank you for disposing of your disposal!
Reference: CBS News: Germs’ Hiding Places: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500165_162-4968164.html
Reference: Fitness Magazine: Germ and Bacteria Hot Spots: 12 Things You Should Know: