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The most recognisable rubber duck of today is a hybrid of these two historical designs.

Ducks are reproduced in different colours, patterns, costumes, and even to resemble famous faces. Collecting ducks can become somewhat of an addiction, or perhaps an obligation, and in the B1 office alone we have The rubber duck has many accolades of its own. Ducks made news headlines in after 29, ducks fell off a cargo ship in the Pacific, some finally making it back to shore years after in locations across the globe.

Why your child's rubber duck could be a potential killer - and other dangers lurking in the home

Chart success, near death experiences, brushes with royalty AND charity fundraising… These ducks are giving even Bob Geldof a run for his money. And why not? It has no gender, no cultural ties, no age and is therefore accessible to everyone, without causing offense. With water play proven to aid muscle development, coordination and cognitive learning, the little rubber duck can inspire the young, as well as providing fun for us adults too.

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A new study published this week in the journal NPJ Biofilms and Microbiomes says that slimy stuff inside bath toys are teeming with bacteria with scary sounding names, like Bradyrhizobium, Agrobacterium, Caulobacter and Sphingomonas. Also found was Pseudomonas, which typically can cause eye and ear infections in humans. In the study, researchers tested 19 different bath toys and found that plastic toys plus dirty bath water is a microbe's dream. The main problem, says lead researcher Frederik Hammes, is what's in the plastic that make up rubber duckies and other bath toys.

Michigan woman grows rubber duck-shaped tomato

Someone tell Ernie. The bacteria like to eat them". But it's not just the chemicals leaking out of the toys that the microbes and bacteria like. The warm bath water itself is full of things they want too, like nitrogen and phosphates, supplied by soap and human body fluids.

So the combination of plasticizers and dirty bath water creates almost a buffet for the bacteria to enjoy.

What the study looked at

The study authors collected 19 actual bath toys used under real conditions in randomly chosen houses. They analyzed samples from the inside of each of the toys to determine how much and what kinds of bacteria and fungi lived there. Fungi were found on 58 percent of all real and new bath toys, although the most common types of fungi found on the actual bath toys have been previously detected in drinking water systems and in soil.

The most commonly spotted bacteria have been found in drinking water and fresh water systems. Other bacteria are in the human skin, mouth, airways and gastrointestinal tract.

Chlamydia bacteria were detected on five of the real bath toys. Bath water also contains bodily fluids and additional bacteria and dirt that cling to toys. At the same time, toys leech organic carbon, which feed the bacteria to continue the cycle.

1839: A Good year for rubber.

That said, however, the study did spot other bugs that can be harmful. The authors argue for increased regulations on the types of materials used by manufacturers to make bath toys.

Of course, putting these kinds of rules in place takes time, so we may not see them take effect while our little ones are still little. In the meantime, keep these cleanliness tips in mind when bathing your baby or toddler :.