Did you know I'm married to a Scientist? Well...not exactly unless you consider him to be a Common-Sense Scientist. Long before e-Coli or Salmonella bacteria hit the radar in research studies, my DH expressed concern about the cleanliness of common things our hands contact in public. It's a well documented topic today. Typical spots that rank high on the chart are bathrooms, public telephones, cell phones, and door knobs. These are horrible breeding ground for GERMS.Recently, more talk about GERMS made the news in this article: Fecal Matter Found on 72 Percent of Grocery Carts . This comes to no shock to us. After all my husband, the Common-Sense Scientist pointed out years ago that grocery cart handles are NOT clean.
An observational study done in secret reported in 2010 that 93% of the women wash their hands after going to the restroom, whereas only 77% of the men washed up before exiting the bathroom. If this is the case, then why is there so much fecal matter found on the grocery cart? Logic tells me something is terribly wrong with this picture.
Could it be the study is inaccurate? Are the scientists as observant as they should be? From past experience, I've notice women only rinsing their hands at best before leaving the restroom with few actually using a cleanser. What about getting out of the bathroom? Could these people who are washing their hands being re-infested?
In addition to the hand washing issue or lack of causing this problem, two prominent things stand out in my mind which may lend some importance. Raw vegetables and meat are common grocery items placed near the handle. These items could be contaminated. The media has reported several stories in recent months about such problems. Also, young children in diapers sit in the kiddie compartment. While this poses a small problem, I'm more concerned about cross contamination from the grocery items than I am the baby. What about your baby being vulnerable to these harmful bacteria? Does this alarm you?
The next time you go shopping, consider taking some anti-bacterial wipes or alcohol towlets to swab down the handle or use a pair of cheap vinyl gloves before you grab your cart or consider pulling your cart from the front, like I do. Keep in mind, whatever is on your hands is placed on each surface you touch. Avoid putting your hands near your face until you can properly wash them. This increases the immediate risk to you and your young children of e-Coli or Salmenella poisoning. Finally, after you load the car up with all those grocery and head home, don't forget to disinfect your hands before grabbing your steering wheel.
Anything you can do to safeguard yourself against GERMS will be better than doing nothing at all. "Oh, be careful little hands what you touch."
Be wise. Keep healthy!