Dangerous kitchen counters? Porous material countertops "hot zones" for E. coli bacteria
Your kitchen actually harbors more bacteria than any other room in your home and the type of countertops you have may be making matters worse. Recent studies have found that porous material countertops can harbor dangerous bacteria, such as E. coli.
A recent University of Arizona at Tucson study identified the kitchen as the most germ-contaminated area in the home. The study reported that countertops are one of five key "hot zones," or sites with the highest bacteria counts. These hot zones can spread infections when germs are transferred from a contaminated item (your kitchen counter) to your hands to your body.
A second study conducted by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management (HITM) revealed that nonporous surfaces, such stainless steel countertops or other NSF 51 certified material, are least likely to harbor dangerous bacteria, such as E. coli, when compared to other popular household countertop materials.
The HITM study tested stainless steel, granite, plastic laminate, wood, tile and concrete surfaces to see which could be cleaned and sanitized most effectively. Each surface was contaminated with E. coli, washed and rinsed with soap and water, then sanitized with a vinegar and water solution. After the sanitizing procedure, the stainless steel surface was left with the fewest number of microorganisms. The study found each countertop surface had a different capacity for resisting bacteria and easy cleaning.
The study highlighted the fact that consumers need to consider wear-and-tear when selecting a countertop surface. After a few years, most porous surfaces, such as granite, laminate, marble, wood, concrete, tile and limestone wear down; lose their protective coating, scratch, and warp -- all decreasing the ability to be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
With stainless steel being very linited as a household countertop solution, other nonporous materials such as quartz are becoming more and more popular with consumers as they try to combine healthier choices with the latest designs for their homes.
"Quartz surfaces are growing in popularity because although they have the beautiful appearance of natural stone, unlike granite, these surfaces never need to be sealed," explained Mark Hanna, President of Leeza Distribution Inc., distributor of HanStone Fine Quartz Surfaces.
That's because Quartz countertops, such as the industry's top rated HanStone surfaces are not only highly scratch resistant, but also nonporous so they never need to be sealed. As a result, they show very little wear, will not promote the growth of mold, mildew or bacteria can be easily maintained for years.
HanStone quartz surfaces are so hygienic they're an approved surface for food preparation by the National Sanitation Foundation, with the NSF 51 certification in the United States. Also of great importance, HanStone
is accredited with Greenguard environmental certification. Unlike stainless steel, however, HanStone quartz surfaces bring strength, resilience and extraordinary beauty and elegance to your kitchen decor with its 32 dramatic colors, vibrant patterns and luxurious sheen. More information on quartz surfaces is available at leezadistribution.com.