Keeping Iron Bacteria out of Your Well
By Ralph Morris, M.D., M.P.H., and Steve Hubbs, P.E.

Iron bacteria-contaminated toilet tank Photo credit: Thomas Scherer, North Dakota State University

Iron bacteria-contaminated toilet tank
Photo credit: Thomas Scherer, North Dakota State University

Are you one of almost 45 million Americans who get their water from a private well?1 If so, you undoubtedly want clean, safe, and clear water. But if unpleasant tastes or smells are coming out of your faucets, and your sinks, tubs, and toilets are stained reddish-brown, your well and water system might be contaminated with iron bacteria. This fall, one of us (RM) noticed a brownish foam in his toilet tank and a distinct iron taste to the drinking water, despite having an on-site water softener…

Iron Bacteria and Well Water

Iron bacteria are microorganisms that use iron (or manganese) as an energy source. Bacteria from the genera Gallionella, Leptothrix, and Crenothrix are important members of the iron bacteria group, and occur naturally in surface water and soil in many states … READ MORE >>

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After All These Years, Was My Mom Right about Removing Your Shoes When Entering a Home?
By Bruce K. Bernard, Ph.D.

One way to encourage shoe removal is to provide an obvious place in the foyer where guests can sit and remove shoes easily.

One way to encourage shoe removal is to
provide an obvious place in the foyer where
guests can sit and remove shoes easily.

My mother always made us take our shoes off just inside the doors of our home. Did that make scientific sense back then or now? Although most of us would not track wet, sandy or muddy shoes into living quarters, many of us routinely make an entrance wearing shoes that are dry and free of visible debris. Mindful of the potential risks from exposure to the invisible microbes adhering to the bottom of their shoes, however, some people leave their footwear at the door. Of course, in some cultures, outdoor shoes are never worn indoors and alternative footwear such as slippers or slipper socks are provided at the entrance to the home.

An April, 2017 Wall Street Journal article concludes that taking your shoes off indoors is READ MORE >>

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“Germ” Terms: Villains and Heroes
By the Water Quality & Health Council

Germ Terms“Germs,” “pathogens,” “microbes,” “probiotics,” the “human microbiome”… these are just a few of the terms in common use that pertain to the world of microscopic life forms that we alternately avoid and embrace. For example, to steer clear of becoming sick with the seasonal flu virus, many of us get an annual flu shot. Employees are asked to stay home from work to help prevent spreading colds (rhinoviruses) and norovirus (the “stomach bug”), and hospitals disinfect against superbug bacteria, such as MRSA and C. difficile. On the other hand, the medical profession notes the “probiotic” characteristics of the “good bacteria” content of yogurt and fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut1 and miso. The live cultures in these foods, they say, can help shore up our immune systems to fight off illness. So, are microbes good or bad? The answer is both! The world of microbes to which READ MORE >>

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Happy Holidays at the Pool
By the Water Quality & Health Council

Happy Holidays PoolLooking for a fun family holiday activity that does not involve electronic gadgets, shopping, eating cookies or drinking egg nog? Look no farther than your local indoor swimming pool! Here are three good reasons to go swimming at least once during the fall and winter holidays:

1. Swimming is great exercise.

Ease you conscience as you ease your body into the warm water of an indoor pool. Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the U.S. (after walking, exercising with equipment and camping), and a good way to get regular aerobic exercise without taxing your joints. Studies show swimmers have about half the risk of death of inactive people.

Are your children comfortable around the water and learning to swim? Swimming lessons are usually available year-round at indoor pools. Additionally, children delight in indoor water play features such as water slides and showers, and parents appreciate the READ MORE >>

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A Thanksgiving Food Safety Quiz
By Linda F. Golodner

Wondering how long your leftover holiday food will last once refrigerated or frozen? Consult this handy Foodsafety.gov chart.

Wondering how long your leftover holiday food will last once refrigerated or frozen? Consult this handy Foodsafety.gov chart.

Preparing a Thanksgiving feast is really an exercise in project management. Whether you are “sub-contracting” the sides or coordinating everything from “soup to nuts” yourself, an awareness of food safety is essential to reach the goal of a delicious, safely prepared meal. Take the quiz below to test your knowledge of food safety for the big day ahead.

True or False:

1. The top shelf of the refrigerator is the worst place to store a raw turkey until it is time to be cooked.

True. Store Tom Turkey “as low as he can go” in the fridge; that is, on the lowest shelf possible. The goal is to prevent raw turkey juices from dripping down and contaminating foods stored on lower shelves. Keep Tom well-wrapped in plastic and on a READ MORE >>

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