Via Farber’s IP list:
1. The shopping carts have cooties.
According to studies done on shopping carts, more than 60 percent of them are harboring coliform bacteria (the sort more often associated with public toilet seats). “These bacteria may be coming from raw foods or from children who sit in the carts,” says Chuck Gerba, Ph.D., a microbiologist at University of Arizona. “Just think about the fact that a few minutes ago, some kid’s bottom was where you are now putting your broccoli.” According to studies done by Gerba and his colleagues at University of Arizona, shopping carts had more bacteria than other surfaces they tested—even more than escalators, public phones and public bathrooms. To avoid picking up nasty bacteria, Gerba recommends using sanitizing wipes to clean off cart handles and seats, and to wash your hands after you finish shopping.
Blerg. I’d always thought that the little sanitation-wipe stations that are springing up at grocery stores were to placate the paranoid, not for practical purposes. That’s pretty gross.
Then again, if you want to culture antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria, the best place to get a swab is on a doctor’s stethoscope, even if it has a fabric ‘safety’ cover. Oh, and if your doctor is wearing a tie, insist that the doctor wash again. Then there are all the patient-care providers (horrifying stats here)…