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Julia Kizhner
Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience:  7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
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If fresh fruits and vegetables are washed w/ well water then

Resolved Question:

If fresh fruits and vegetables are washed w/ well water then dried is it dangerous? Can things like bacteria, virus, fungi, protozans live after the water is wiped dry?
With all the media uproar on well water my mil brought some tomatoes from their garden over that had been washed in water from their well (tap water but they have a well). After hearing all the scary freshwater stories online; I asked her to take them back home but now I am concerned that whatever was in the water was on the bag she brought them in. I did look at them and did not see any drops of water but what are the chances some bacteria, virus, fungi, amoeba hitched a ride over to my house. I have 2 toddlers, and infant and am pregnant again and this terrifies me.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question, Chances of any kind of infection are almost zero, you have nothing to worry about. There are tons of bacteria that are present in the air that you breathe, on the surfaces of everything you touch, everything you eat BUT most of these bacterias are not dangerous to humans and there are no risks associated with them. You were probably reading about the amoeba that was associated with 4 deaths in Unites States this year? If so, it is an extremely extremily rare amoeba (bacteria) and 99.9% of people who happen to come across it do not develop any complications. Why 0.01% of people die when they come in contact with it is unknown. You really don't have to worry about the water on the bag but if you are very concerned, just take bottled water and rinse your vegetables through. I wash all my fruits and vegetables under the sink and then rinse them with filtered water. But please, do not worry, you and your babies are going to be just fine. Please let me know if you have any questions. I will be happy to assist you further. If you are satisfied with the answer, please do click 'Accept' button so that I may get credit for my work. Best wishes and good luck,Julia
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am referring to the amoeba and I know it's typically from people swimming and diving in freshwater but I was just wondering if the fruits and vegetables washed with well water will carry any "amoebas" if they are dry?
I guess I don't understand the risks associated with this. My mom dried them and I didn't see a drop of water in the bag; the bag was never opened here in my house only touched by her hands and then put back in her purse.
Should I assume this is a non-risk since no water came out of the bag? but then my mind wonders - could people who use well water carry them around on them? or is this only a water thing - once dry it's gone?
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 5 years ago.

There have never been any reported cases of that amoeba found on fruits or vegetables. Amoeba most likely cannot survive without water so if the fruits and vegetables were dry, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

No one understands the risks associated with this amoeba. This amoeba is also not something new - there are about 4 cases of deaths per year secondary to amoeba exposure, it is a very very very small number. Scientists and doctors cannot understand why some people die when they are exposed to the amoeba but 99.9% have no effect from it. So you are not the only one who doesn't understand the risks :)

Yes, you can consider this a non-risk situation, both because the tomatoes were dry and because there is just such an extremely small chance of contact. I don't know where you live, but most cases that do occur in the southern states of the Unites States.

So I can reassure you that you and your kids are completely safe.

Please let me know if there are any other questions I can answer for you.

If I answered your questions, please do click 'Accept' button so that I may get credit for my work.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well I live in the foothills of NC and my parents were the well water came from came from southwestern VA in the mountains. I heard that it wouldn't be from an area that had a hard freeze during the winters but I'm not sure that's true.
All in all this is very scary and since the tomatoes never left the bag I suppose it's fine - because if I hold on to anything that touches well water not coming into my house - half of my family would be banished.
Any other recommendations?
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 5 years ago.

Yes, it is very scary sometimes when you read the news and hear what happens but there is only so much you can do to protect yourself (sanitizer, cleaning hands, etc). But, in reality, these cases are extremely rare and you shouldn't stress yourself over it.

My only recommendation is to rinse fruits/vegetables that are cleaned with tap water with filtered water (like from the bottles or installed filter system under the kitchen sink). Also, to feel safer, you can always have a pot of boiled water (it can be boiled in the morning) and later used for rinsing. Not too many bacteria survive boiling temperatures so in the good old days (before all of our technology), that's how things were cleaned. Just an idea :)

Hope this helps.

I do have to step away from the computer but if you have any other questions I will be happy to answer them for you as soon as I get home and get back on the computer.


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