Get a handle on germs with shopping cart wipes, stores urge


sanctus
#1
Before stocking up at the supermarket, shoppers are swabbing down their grocery carts in an effort to kill cold and flu germs but experts say the practice may be giving shoppers a false sense of security.

Dan Woods, manager of the infectious disease program for Alberta's David Thompson Health Region, said the disinfectant wipes are a good idea but notes that people should be vigilant and adopt a broad approach.

"When you go to the grocery store the entire grocery store should be considered contaminated and really what you should do is to practise good hand hygiene and keep your hands away from your face, which is a primary mode of transmission," he said.

Mike Lupien, a spokesman for Sobeys in Western Canada, said the supermarket chain decided to introduce the disinfectant wipes to curb the transfer of harmful bacteria.

"It's all about protecting our customers and even protecting our staff," Lupien said. "Shopping carts are a place where lots of people put their hands on them and there's different germs and bacteria and such that get on there."

Elenora Simsic, a Sobeys manager in Toronto, says shoppers have responded positively to the wipes.

"They really thought it was a good idea. I've even noticed some customers using [them], wiping their kids faces, if they have chocolate on their hands," she said.

While disinfectant wipes have become common household cleaning tools, experts disagree over their value. Some critics say that washing with hot water and soap is most effective and that many bacteria are in fact helpful and are a part of our natural environment.

Dr. Gerry Predy, medical officer of health for Capital Health Region in Edmonton, says a clinical swab of a grocery cart handle may not turn up much.

"You might not find a lot," he said. "But I would just hazard that you would probably find common skin organisms, you might find some germs that would cause gastrointestinal diarrhea-type illness."

Dominion officials say they don't offer disinfectant wipes to their customers. Similarly, a Loblaws spokesman said the supermarket chain keeps its carts clean and in good repair and has no plans to introduce complimentary wipes to their stores.

Copyright 2007 CBC
 
karrie
#2
Ever since reading a book on natural disasters, I'm resigned to catching a bug here and there. One of the pandemics the book discussed, killed almost everyone it infected. And everyone it infected, for some bizarre reason, was limited almost strictly to the upper class (don't even bother asking which disease or when, I can't for the life of me remember). As far as experts can figure, the lower class had at some point been infected with lower grade illness of a similar virus, and thus had an immunity (much like cowpox and smallpox). The moral...being 'dirtier' and catching more viruses... not always a bad thing! Sure, I still wash my hands after leaving a store, but, I don't stress myself out or continually sterilize, and I don't buy anything 'anti-bacterial'.
 
Tonington
#3
I'm doing a project right now in microbiology on probiotics. Some of the research I've seen is actually looking at whethor doctors and health workers should rub down with yogurt like substances rather than anti-bacterial solutions. The idea is essentially that by colonizing the growing media, ie any surfaces, with non-pathogenic bacteria which will outcompete harmful bacteria, we can offer protection from disease while minimizing the chances for more "superbugs".
 
tamarin
#4
Looks like the Village of Parnoia has a new suburb!
 
karrie
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Tonington View Post

I'm doing a project right now in microbiology on probiotics. Some of the research I've seen is actually looking at whethor doctors and health workers should rub down with yogurt like substances rather than anti-bacterial solutions. The idea is essentially that by colonizing the growing media, ie any surfaces, with non-pathogenic bacteria which will outcompete harmful bacteria, we can offer protection from disease while minimizing the chances for more "superbugs".

that's an interesting concept. we had a lively debate going at my mom's one day about the logic behind killing 99.9% of the bacteria on your counters. When I pointed out that this would still leave a large number of the strongest bacteria to then breed and spread on your surfaces, my aunties scoffed at me. I use warm water and soap to clean, and vinegar to remove hard water scale, that's it. Having a septic system,it makes you very aware of the need to use cleaners that AREN'T going to kill off necessary bacteria. Having the whole system back up because you've stopped taken the 'septic' factor out of your sewage system, is not a pleasant experience.
 
hermanntrude
#6
i think people who use this type of product are a victim of their own paranoia, and the commercial attempts at making them buy useless products. if you wipe the shopping trolley with disinfectant you can still catch a cold from almost anything else or just by breathing sometimes.

I love the yoghurt rub theory. it's so elegant. i love that type of low-tech thinking.
 
Tonington
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

that's an interesting concept. we had a lively debate going at my mom's one day about the logic behind killing 99.9% of the bacteria on your counters. When I pointed out that this would still leave a large number of the strongest bacteria to then breed and spread on your surfaces, my aunties scoffed at me. I use warm water and soap to clean, and vinegar to remove hard water scale, that's it. Having a septic system,it makes you very aware of the need to use cleaners that AREN'T going to kill off necessary bacteria. Having the whole system back up because you've stopped taken the 'septic' factor out of your sewage system, is not a pleasant experience.

It's also important for kids to come into contact with bacteria as they're growing so their body can produce the anti-bodies for particular antigens. People have gotten way to germ-conscious, definite paranoia. I think some products even claim to kill viruses, which technically aren't even alive, and incredibly tough.

Yah, the yogurt idea is kinda funny. It's often the simplest things that can work best, no need for complicated chemicals, just good ole fashioned plain yogurt. Good for a snack too.
 
karrie
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Tonington View Post

It's also important for kids to come into contact with bacteria as they're growing so their body can produce the anti-bodies for particular antigens.

I wish I could get this idea across to more people.

But then, on the flip side, I've had to try to explain to relatives when this kind of thinking doesn't fly... like when dealing with undercooked hamburger. I even had one aunt who complained about the city taking out wooden playstructures, she said "how will these kids build up any immunities if we are so paranoid about everything they come into contact with?" I TRIED to explain why you can't build up an immunity to arsenic and cyanide, but, she still doesn't get it. lol.
 
Tonington
#9
Heh, yah big difference between an environmental disease/toxicity and a pathogenic one. Funny enough you can use bacteria to clean up cyanide.
 

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