Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Walsh recently conducted a preliminary study along with Dr. Wellington Tichenor on a bacteria found in tap water that may be linked to chronic sinusitis (a sinus infection generally considered to persist for 3 months or more). Their findings suggest a bacteria, atypical mycobacterium, found in tap water and not killed by chlorine, can be a contributing factor to chronic sinusitis when patients use tap water for nasal irrigation. Patients with sinus infections are often told to irrigate the nasal passages, and thus the sinuses, with a mixture of salt and tap water to assist in clearing secretions and congestion. Though more research is needed to further investigate this claim, perhaps we should suggest using a store-bought sterile preparation of saline in the interim.
You can view the short piece by WABC 7 here and the link to Dr. Tichenor's website here. Congratulations Nurse Practitioner Walsh on your research!