Some studies just shouldn’t be done. We know in the abstract that humans are basically constantly swimming in fecal bacteria. Can’t we leave it in the abstract? No, apparently. “Science” had to go looking for more details. First came reports that iPhone screens are bacteria farms (perhaps because the guys at College Humor keep playing Angry Birds in the bathroom). Now another everyday item, shopping carts, have been swabbed. From MSNBC.com:
Researchers from the University of Arizona swabbed shopping cart handles in four states looking for bacterial contamination. Of the 85 carts examined, 72 percent turned out to have a marker for fecal bacteria.
The researchers took a closer look at the samples from 36 carts and discovered Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, on 50 percent of them — along with a host of other types of bacteria.
“That’s more than you find in a supermarket’s restroom,” said Charles Gerba, the lead researcher on the study and a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona. “That’s because they use disinfecting cleaners in the restrooms. Nobody routinely cleans and disinfects shopping carts.”
The study’s results may explain earlier research that found that kids who rode in shopping carts were more likely than others to develop infections caused by bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter, Gerba said.
I am against the tidal wave of sanitizing gels, wipes, and cleaners that have flooded the lives of children. I understand that to rail against the fecality of modern living is to fight an endless mind battle in which victory can only be achieved by becoming a weirdo in a hazmat suit like Michael Jackson.
But this sounds awful. Can someone remind me that it is actually OK for kids to leave the house?