Keeping your windscreen clean may do more than just improve your vision!
A recent study by the Health Protection Agency found that one in five cars without screenwash in their windscreen wash reservoirs contained traces of potentially fatal bacteria. The bacteria is the cause of Legionnaires' disease - a pneumonia-like infection of the lungs of which there are approximately 300 reported cases each year in the UK. Depending on the susceptibility of the infected person, the disease is fatal in around 10-15% of patients. Many cases are never traced to a confirmed source. However, it was noted that people who spend a lot of time in vehicles, ie. professional drivers, were disproportionally highly represented in confirmed cases.
In the investigation the Health Protection Agency found that windscreen wash reservoirs provide an ideal environment for the growth of Legionella bacteria. When the water is sprayed onto the windscreen tiny droplets containing the bacteria can be spread, not only to the car and its inhabitants, but also over a wide surrounding area. Once airborne the droplets can be inhaled and taken into the lungs where the bacteria infect the unwitting host.
The good news is that no traces of the Legionella bacteria were found in windscreen wash reservoirs with the correct amounts of screen wash, so keeping your windscreen clean can seriously improve your health.