North American plumbing organizations came together June 7 to discuss issues affecting the plumbing community, focusing on the recent study by Johns Hopkins University staff on electronic hands-free faucets.

According to the study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine examined bacterial growth from faucets of two clinical wards within Johns Hopkins Hospital from December 2008 through January 2009. Cultures obtained from the faucets showed 50 percent of water cultures from electronic faucets grew Legionella, compared to 15 percent of water cultures from manual faucets.

Meeting participants reviewed the Johns Hopkins presentation based on the limited public information available and came to a number of conclusions and recommended actions.

One conclusion is the use of electronic faucets provides a significant benefit by reducing the potential of cross-contamination from faucet handles to health-care providers’ hands. The group will develop a separate position statement on the use of electronic faucets for future release.