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New Research Confirms: Rubber Duckies Are Teeming With Bacteria

It might be time to say goodbye to the rubber ducky.

Might be time to put your rubber duckies out of their misery. A recent study conducted by American and Swiss researchers found that the beloved bath toy is likely teeming with tons of bacteria and fungus. Researchers found that four out of five of them had what they called “potentially pathogenic” bacterias that, per The New York Times, could cause “eye, ear and stomach infections.”

For the study, which was a joint project between the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, ETH Zurich and the University of Illinois and published in the journal N.P.J. Biofilms and Microbiomes, researchers counted the number of microbes lurking inside a variety of the beloved bath toys.

Researchers discovered that all of the bath toys had “dense and slimy biofilms” on their inner surface. The large majority of the bath toys had areas of black discoloration, indicating mold growth, and diverse communities of bacteria, including Legionella. In total, researchers found 75 million cells of bacteria per square centimeter of duckie. 

Much of the bacteria in question came from the water inside the ducks. Researchers claim that its growth is due to the plastic from which the ducks are made. Bacteria is thought to feed off a byproduct of the plastic. Per the AP, researchers believe that higher quality plastics could prevent this issue. Until then, it might be time to toss the ducks.