Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Why Do They Put Those Wipes By the Shopping Carts?
The wipes began to make their appearance when the H1N1 flu was at pandemic levels and continue to be found in many supermarkets today. 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.
Shopping cart handles aren’t the only thing you need to worry about when you go to the local supermarket, Gerba added. In other research, he’s found that reusable shopping bags that aren’t regularly washed turn into bacterial swamps. “It’s like wearing the same underwear every day,” Gerba said.
The best way to keep kids safe, Gerba said, is to swipe the shopping cart handle with a disinfecting wipe before you pop your kid into the basket.
Source:Linda Carroll at msnbc.com 3/1/2011