Windshield washer fluid can harbor the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease, a deadly form of pneumonia.
When contaminated fluid is sprayed from a vehicle’s washer nozzles it’s released as fine mist. The microorganisms become airborne and are easily inhaled by people nearby.
An investigation of Arizona school buses revealed some surprising results. The study found that three-quarters of the vehicles tested in one district contained the bacteria. When the tainted fluid was sprayed it could be contracted and lead to the spread of Legionnaires’ disease.
Beyond washer nozzles, naturally occurring Legionella bacteria can be found in places like hot tubs, air conditioners and showers. The little critters love water and are transmitted via mist or vapor. Fortunately they cannot jump from person to person.
As with other diseases, smokers, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk, though most of the people exposed to it do not get sick.
[Source: Automotive News]