A couple of days ago that haven of misinformed fluff, The Huffington Post, came up with another of their hard-hitting exposés. This time they tell you 11 Mistakes You’re Making In The Bathroom (And How To Fix Them).
Take a guess. Take a wild guess. What do you think one of the 11 mistakes involves?
I’m going to interrupt writing about being in Chile because I noticed the article and I just can’t help commenting on it.
Many of the “mistakes” aren’t too bad. For instance, one of them is “Keeping Your Toothbrush Too Close To Your Toilet…”. Yup. Flushing can put an aerosol of fecal bacteria into the air around your toilet, which then settles on nearby surfaces. That’s why both sexes should keep the toilet seat down—completely down. It’s perfectly equal. When one wants to use the toilet, they raise it to what is appropriate to what they are doing, close it when finished, and flush. Simple.
But of course, down the list, we find this:
Walking On Your Bathroom Floor Barefoot
Your toilet seat is the grossest place in the bathroom, right? Wrong. In one study for ABC News, the bathroom floor actually harbored the most bacteria–about 2 million per square inch, to be exact. Dr. Charles Gerba who conducted the study says that’s about 200 times higher than a sanitary surface. Lesson learned: scrub your bathroom floor frequently or invest in a pair of spiffy shower shoes.
[Image from the story.]
Well, yeah. The question they should ask, though, is does it matter? Are you eating breakfast off your floor (bathroom or not)? Are you picking your nose with your toes? Is there something on the floor that will really harm your feet? I don’t think so.
Your feet have this marvelous thing on the bottom of them called “skin”. It keeps out bacteria and stuff.
And then there is their recommendation: spiffy shower shoes. Bleah.
While skin does keep out organisms, if you keep covering them you’ll give some pathogens just the kind of environment they need to grow and attack the skin.
Another newsflash: the ground actually has dirt in it.
The HuffPo story got its information from at 2005 story from ABC News, Myth: Toilet Seats Are the Dirtiest Thing in the Bathroom, about how toilet seat covers really don’t do anything. Why? From the article:
“No,” said Janse. “You’re not going to get germs from your backside. You’re going to get them from your hands.”
That’s exactly right. Fecal germs are not going to penetrate your skin. Your hands matter because you touch your nose and mouth and eyes (places with entry to the body) with them.
But then the ABC article completely forgets the lesson they just taught us.
After testing the floor, which unsurprisingly does have a lot of dirt and bacteria on it, they conclude, “We consider that a fail. So you don’t want to walk around barefoot in ABC News toilets.”
OK, maybe your shouldn’t walk around on your bare hands on your bathroom floor, but that’s about it. Seriously, if walking barefoot in your bathroom really were a health risk, wouldn’t we have noticed it by now?
It would be nice if, just for once, these people were capable of logical thought. And it would be nice if their illogic weren’t so often applied to bare feet.
Our local news station keeps touting their stories telling how they are “keeping us safe”. Well, no. What they are trying to do is “keeping us paranoid” so that we’ll keop watching.
This story is just more of the same.