Rubber Ducks are Home for Harmful Bacteria

Rubber ducks are home for harmful bacteria, a new study claims. Scientists said that rubber ducks are teeming with bacteria and fungi because they are not clean at all.

Swiss and American researchers from Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, ETH studied the cleanliness of rubber duckies. They counted the microbes floating inside the toys and say it contained potentially pathogenic bacteria. They found the bacteria in four out of the five toys when squeezed that can be harmful to children’s health.


The research study was published Tuesday in the journal Biofilms and Microbiomes by the University of Illinois.

Scientists found a high volume 75 million bacteria cells per square centimeter and variety of bacteria and fungus inside of the rubber ducks. Besides, 60 percent of the real bath toys were found with fungi species, according to researchers.

The bacteria or fungi vary from household to household due to the differences in the tap water in separate locations, the study said. Researchers found Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa harmful bacteria inside of the toys. The study says bath water is the main source of the microorganisms in the bath toys. This water comes into contact with environmental contamination and the human microbiome.

“Squeezing water with chunks of biofilm into their faces … may result in eye, ear, wound or even gastrointestinal-tract infections,” senior study author Frederik Hammes, of the Department Environmental Microbiology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology wrote in the study.

Scientists recommend that parents should boil the toys or remove the water from them after use. They also said that better materials that avoid organic compounds leak could lower microbial growth on the toys.