Drink From a Water Fountain? I'd Rather Lick a Toilet

drinking fountainI'm not a germaphobe, never have been, never will be. I have pets, I like being outdoors and getting dirty, and my shoddy housekeeping will always, always be my mother's greatest shame.

But having kids activated some previously unexpressed germ fears. Now, I attack the kitchen with sanitizing wipes if anything has been within a foot of raw meat. I've lost my wedding ring for extended periods twice because I take it off to wash my hands, forget I put it in my pocket, and then it rolls out to points unknown. I carry hand sanitizer everywhere I go.

I also carry a stainless steel water bottle ... and according to this investigation from the Toronto Star, filling it up at a drinking fountain could be exposing me and my kidlets to countless people's germs.


The Star tested water fountains at several public buildings throughout the city. Several had bacteria levels too high to count, and most were well beyond what health officials consider a safe level of bacterial exposure.

Most bacteria, it should be noted, is harmless, but drinking fountain spouts provide a good route for transmission of those that cause illness. That's why you'll rarely if ever see them in hospitals ... sick patients could leave behind their bugs.

One of the cleanest public sources of drinking water was one nobody would consider sharing. It was the dog bowl set out for passing pooches at a city Starbucks.

I find this especially horrifying because this was in Toronto. I've been there several times, and not to stereotype, but Canadians are a clean people. Toronto's one of the only big cities I have visited that doesn't feel just kind of grimy. If things are this bad there ... shudder to think what the drinking fountains must be like where I live.

Do you drink at public water fountains or BYO?


Image via shannonkringen/Flickr

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