Turn Any Faucet Into a Hands Free Automatic Foot Operated
"Why doesn't everyone already have a hands
free faucet, and why haven't we had them for 50 years?" - Denise Potts
Hands free control of the faucet can save a lot of
water. We made a system to measure water use by attaching a sensor to the
faucet that detects water flow and sends the signal to a computer that
charts the data, the following video shows an example of how the system
works using hand washing for the test. Although proper hand washing is the
most important thing people can do to prevent the spread of many diseases,
doing it properly wastes a lot of water.
Since January 26, 1998, USDA inspectors have been
implementing a new science-based Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
(HACCP) system to prevent foodborne illness in U.S. meat producing plants.
The system identifies the faucet handle as being a critical control point in
the meat handling industry and requires meat handlers to implement devices
that eliminate the need to touch a faucet handle when handling raw meat. The
Foot Faucet allows hands free operation of your kitchen sink.
Two of the main concerns in the kitchen today are safe
food preparation and healthy cooking made easier. Although the kitchen is
the place where we go to fill our stomachs with food, the kitchen is also
the most likely place for germs to get into our bodies making us sick.
Cross-Contamination is the main way germs are spread to food in the kitchen.
Germs that cause everything from the common cold to MRSA(flesh eating
bacteria) can be brought home after school or work and end up on the faucet
handle as we are turning it on to wash our hands, now with clean hands, we
have to touch the contaminated faucet handle to turn the water off, getting
the germs right back on our hands, then we proceed to spread those germs
around the kitchen with "clean" hands. Germs are also very likely to get on
our hands from handling raw meat or other food, these germs also end up on
the faucet handle and then... everywhere else. The Centers For Disease
Control say that the most effective thing we all can do to prevent ourselves
from getting sick is to properly wash our hands. Proper hand washing and
safe food handling practices are the cornerstone of any healthy kitchen, so
having an automatic faucet to control the hot/cold water and the garbage disposal without
spreading germs on the faucet handle(s) or the disposal switch can make the
kitchen sink a germ fighting super-hero instead of a prime suspect in making
your family sick.
Healthy cooking can be a lot of work, with any fresh meat or vegetable,
effective cleaning and preparation requires clean water. Also, preparing
these things can be a bit messy, so we usually either fill up the sink or a
pot to do washing/rinsing in, which can get dirty quickly leading to a
contamination problem, or, some people leave the faucet on while they
prepare the food and rinse their hands, that wastes a lot of water. Some
people get good at using the back of their hand or their elbow to turn on
the faucet, that prevents spreading until the second time you have to do
it... Even if
you leave the faucet on, if you have a sink full of something that you want
to wash down the garbage disposal, you have to either wash off (and dry to
avoid electrocution) your hands to turn on the garbage disposal, or get the
switch dirty, contaminating it, and risking a less than pleasant ZAP. Using
your foot to control the water flow and garbage disposal makes preparing
healthy food easier and stops cross-contamination while saving water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control - Food
Safety Division. "Many people do not think about food safety until a
food-related illness affects them or a family member. While the food supply
in the United States is one of the safest in the world, CDC estimates that
76 million people get sick, more than 300,000 are hospitalized, and 5,000
Americans die each year from foodborne illness. Preventing foodborne illness
and death remains a major public health challenge."
These are just the ones that made the list! Of course, the
germs that cause these recalls are only dangerous if you mis-handle the food. If your food is
handled/cooked properly and cross-contamination is avoided, most of these
foods recalled for pathogens would pose little danger. The kitchen faucet/sink can be a
crucial Critical Control Point in the fight against illness.
"Today, many companies sell
antibacterial solutions and chemicals for the purpose of making hands safe.
In fact, this actually leads to damage of the skin, which then leads to less
hand washing. The following table points out the defenses of the skin and their
function. It identifies the hair follicles, sweat glands, and other skin
defense mechanisms. One must not interfere with these defenses; otherwise,
we will have diseases of the skin and less hand washing."
O. Peter Snyder, Jr., Ph.D.
Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management
Defenses of skin*
Dryness and acidic
conditions (pH 5)
Limit bacterial growth
Compete for nutrients
and colonization / attachment sites
Hair follicles, sweat
Lysozyme, toxic lipids
Sebum from sebaceous glands
Protective film on surface
Prevents excessive dryness
Beneath skin surface
Skin associated lymphoid
Kill bacteria; sample
antigens on skin surface.
Salyers, A.A., and Whitt, D.D. 1994. Chapter 1. Host
defenses against bacterial pathogens: Defenses of body surfaces. In
Bacterial Pathogenesis. American Society of Microbiology Press. Washington,
Prescott, L. M., Harley, J. P., and Klein, D. A. 1996.
Microbiology. 3rd edition. Wm. C. Brown. Dubuque, IA.
Common Foodborne Pathogens
Even though the United States has one of the safest food supplies in the
world, there are still millions of cases of foodborne illness each year.
Here are common foodborne pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms)
with research-based information:
Cause of Illness: eating raw or undercooked food;
putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool
of an infected person or animal; direct contact with the droppings of
Incubation Period: Two to 10 days
Symptoms: Watery diarrhea accompanied by mild stomach
cramping, nausea, loss of appetite. Symptoms may last 10 to 15 days.
Possible Contaminants: Contaminated water or milk,
person-to-person transmission (especially in child daycare settings).
Contaminated food can also cause infections.
Steps for Prevention: Wash hands after using the toilet
and before handling food. If you work in a child care center where you
change diapers, be sure to wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water
after every diaper change, even if you wear gloves. During communitywide
outbreaks caused by contaminated drinking water, boil drinking water for 1
minute to kill the Cryptosporidium parasite. Allow water to cool before
Cause of Illness: Infection with Norwalk virus
Incubation Period: Between 12 and 48 hours (average, 36 hours); duration,
Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal
Possible Contaminant: raw oysters/shellfish, water and
ice, salads, frosting, person-to-person contact
Steps for Prevention: Adequate and proper treatment and
disposal of sewage, appropriate chlorination of water, restriction of
infected food handlers from working with food until they no longer shed
Cause of Illness: Parasitic infection
Incubation Period: Five to 23 days after exposure
Symptoms: In healthy children and adults, toxoplasmosis
may cause no symptoms at all, or may cause a mild illness (swollen lymph
glands, fever, headache, and muscle aches).
Toxoplasmosis is a very severe infection for unborn babies and for people
with immune system problems.
Possible Contaminant: Cat, rodent or bird feces, raw or
Steps for Prevention: Wash hands thoroughly after
working with soil, cleaning litter boxes, before and after handling foods,
and before eating. Cover sandboxes when not in use.