Soda fountains provide us with all the best pops. When we're idly waiting for our fast food, we tend to mosey over to the soda fountain for a refreshing drink. Harmless, right? Well, hold your horses. While this convenient little machine gifts us easily accessible soda, it also has its downfalls. Even if you're a soda lover, you should really second guess your choice to visit the soda fountain.

Research has been published for years now which concludes these fountains are crawling in bacteria. Renee D. Godard, a professor of biology at Hollins University, published a report back in 2009 which stated soda tested from soda fountains were found with bacteria, including coliforms. In case you're wondering, coliforms are a kind of bacteria that are often found in animal and human fecal matter.

a soda fountain with different options available

In a 2010 interview with ABC, Godard explained how she thought the bacteria was seeping into the soda. "Our best guess is they're actually establishing themselves on the lining of the plastic tubing. The reason we say that is in other areas, such as hospitals, it is known that bacteria can establish themselves on plastic tubing for machines."

Other researchers agreed with the sentiment, and in fact weren't even that surprised at the results. Philip Tierno, director of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center told ABC something people probably don't want to hear. "Wherever man is there will be representation of feces. We're basically bathed in feces as a society," he said. I mean, that makes sense and shouldn't surprise anyone, but that doesn't mean we want feces associated with our soda.

a soda fountain with five options available

So, how do we help this crisis? At the time, Godard recommended fast food companies take proper measures to clean their systems. She suggested daily cleaning of the nozzles and flushing out the internal tubes at least monthly. "But my guess is that most restaurant owners wouldn't have the vaguest idea about how to flush those machines, or that they would even need to," she told ABC.

Tierno shared similar ideas. "Bottom line -- there should be better cleaning of the instruments, and probably the public should not have access to dispensing their own sodas," he told ABC.

As nice as it is for us to dispense multiple sodas in one cup, we're often running into less-than-desirable bacteria through soda fountains. The next time you're looking to grab a cup of soda, you should consider something different such as a bottle of water or even a bottle of soda instead. You can also save your drinks for home and save yourself a dollar or two by not tacking on another item. At least we know our water at home isn't contaminated with feces...

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