Is Toilet Water Healthier Than Fast Food Ice?

Drinking water quality is always a huge issue in our household. My wife rejects water drawn from any other source than the kitchen faucet or refrigerator dispenser. I wonder how she will react to the recent science project findings of a twelve-year-old who sampled some fast food restaurants in South Florida.

Her simple study concluded that:

70 percent of the time, ice from fast food restaurants was dirtier than toilet water.

The 12-year-old collected ice samples from five restaurants in South Florida – from both self-serve machines inside the restaurant and from drive-thru windows. She then collected toilet water samples from the same restaurants and tested all of them for bacteria at the University of South Florida.

In several cases, the ice tested positive for E. coli bacteria, which comes from human waste and has been linked to several illness outbreaks across the country.

“These [bacteria] don’t belong there,” said Dr. David Katz, medical contributor to “Good Morning America.” “It’s not cause for panic, although it is alarming because what she found is nothing new. You’re not more likely to get sick now. But she’s done us a favor by sounding the alarm.”

Both Roberts and Katz said that the ice is likely dirtier because machines aren’t cleaned and people use unwashed hands to scoop ice. Toilet water is also surprisingly bacteria-free, because it comes from sanitized city water supplies.

I can see the stock prices on bottled water companies rising as we speak. Who wants to trust their health to the hygiene habits of the fast food workers? We might have to sneak a Big Mac once in awhile; but maybe we need to bring our own bottled water. This study does not paint a pretty picture. I don’t know what fast food bathrooms this girl sampled… but my experience does not conjure up any good images. It definitely makes me think twice about my morning regimen of scooping ice out of our corporate ice dispenser in the lunchroom.