Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lots of Germs on your Shoes!

I feel like I constantly battle with my family to take their shoes off when they go in the house. Now I have ammunition! You may have heard about a test Good Morning America conducted that showed bad, really, really bad germs are on our shoes and we are tracking those germs into our homes.(not to mention tracking in dirt and making scuff marks on the floor)

ABC tested the bottoms of people's shoes for bacteria and you won't believe what they found.

Unlike in other countries, most Americans wear their shoes in the house, including mom Michelle Ciocon. Michelle said, "I don't really think that much about it." Maybe she should. We took 10 swabs from a variety of people and pets. And Michelle's shoes contained the most bacteria of all --off the charts with 66-million organisms. It's no reflection on her. It probably means she stepped directly in something.

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Arizona found 9 different species of bacteria on people's shoes. Bacteria that can cause infections in our stomachs, eyes, lungs and more. University of Arizona researcher Jonathan Sexton said, "These are way dirtier than a toilet seat. Toilet seats generally have a thousand bacteria or less and these are in the millions so there's a lot more bacteria here."

Worse yet, the study found bacteria lives longer on our shoes than in other places, because as we walk, we constantly pick up new debris that feeds it. The researchers also tested to see if that bacteria would transfer to the tile floors in a house. And it did --more than 90-percent of the time. Carpeting is even worse. Michelle said, "I'm concerned. I'm going to make sure everyone takes their shoes off from now on."

Children under age 2 are the most vulnerable to the stuff we track in, since they play on the floor and put their hands in their mouths an average of 80 times an hour. Jonathan said, "That means that your child can possibly be exposed to every single bacteria that you walked around and picked up on your shoe. All the bacteria from the park, the store, everywhere you went that day."

Out of our 10 tests, 9 contained coliform, a type of bacteria that comes mostly from, well, human and animal waste. Scientists blame the floors of public restrooms and bird and dog droppings. So how did the dogs "do" in our bacteria test? Not bad. Their paws came in 5th and 9th.

Of course, I have a child who is under two who constantly puts things in his mouth! I like to think he's getting immunity to some things, but I don't think he needs immunity to bird and dog poop. Isn't there research that shows keeping things too clean can be bad too? Either way, I will be enforcing the no shoes in the house even more than usual. Gross!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Anonymous said...

wow! germs on shoes?! who would have thought?! Bacteria is everywhere, including coliform bacteria. Once again the media has gone crazy scaring people. You could most likely lick your shoe and not get sick. Your immune system needs practice and if we keep sanitizing every aspect of life, some super bug is really going to kill us. Why didn't she interview a Doc about if the germs are really something to worry about. No, she didn't, but they did interview a shoe etiquette. hah, my god. How long have people been wearing shoes inside? I dunno, hundreds of years? The story was not only lame, but who cares about the egotistical reporter putting herself in the story. blah, crap.

Diane Vespa said...

How rude, Jon. I hope no one ever talks to your Mom/Sister/daughter like that. Bad kharma.

Hey Jen, I always worry about fertilizer and week killer from lawns being tracked in on the bottoms of shoes and the dogs. Now THAT is some scary stuff. Ever read the product warnings? Kind of makes you want to have a yard full of dandelions. Lol!

Jennifer said...

I agree with Diane, it's more the chemicals than germs and bacteria I worry about. We don't spray our lawn (despite my husband bemoaning the dandelions) but I know our neighbors do (and probably hate our lawn!) and I'm sure there's run off from their yards. said...

Yah, we have gone back and forth about whether to spray all those chemicals on our lawn too. I know some of them have been linked to cancer and my kids roll around in the grass. We did chemicals one year and haven't since. I do hate dandelions. I wonder if there is a less toxic way to get rid of them besides picking them everyday.

Teri the Dog Health Lady said...

Some people who have allergies to all chemicals use vinegar and hot water to wash floors. Baking soda is another cleaner to scrub counters. We are overly chemicalized, and fertilizers are carcinogens. You would not let your pet dog or child roll around on a lawn that has been sprayed, unless you want them to get very sick. A chemical free world is what most people want these days.

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