Friday, March 04, 2011

Oh Crap! If your Grocer provides disinfectant wipes you should use them

I have noticed that my local grocery store has started to provide disinfectant wipes. Initially I thought it was to kill off germs from the common cold or the flu, but that isn't all that needs to be cleaned from your shopping cart.  According an article in USA Today  72 percent of shopping carts will test positive for..  FECAL MATTER!!!  50 Percent will contain E'Coli as well, not only should you wipe down your carts but wash your hands and produce when you get home.
Photo Via: USA Today by Paul Vernon AP

Why are they finding so much fecal matter on the handles of shopping carts, more than is found in bathrooms, because shopping carts are not washed or cleaned, those disinfecting wipes are there for you to do the job.  The article mentions that a recent study found that children who touch cart handles get sick from salmonella at a higher rate than others, all that hand to mouth action that, hopefully, we as adults don't do.  Who is depositing all the fecal matter on the carts I wonder, could it be the child in the seat area, perhaps it is from nature as the cart sits in the parking lot, birds, as we know, hang out in populated areas and do carry salmonella, not only are they angry birds but dirty birds too. 

Now introduce your reusable bag, a wonderful idea that I hope continues, but something that you should regularly clean of the contaminants they contain.  I asked David Hughes, of Foley Distributing, who trains and give talks on disinfection and cleaning to hospitals, schools, universities, facilities both large and small, who told me that stores are buying a 200ppm spray disinfectant for contact areas.  This 200ppm spray is a cleaner and disinfectant, only available to commercial markets, that once used, knocks down viruses and bacteria, leaving only a small residual of germ killing agents behind once dried.  This 200ppm is much lower than the 800ppm used in hospitals to disinfect and clean.  Why is it important to have a lower concentration of chemicals, because not only do you not want you or your children to ingest bacteria and fecal matter, you don't want them to ingest a lot of chemicals, you can get too much of a good thing.  I asked David why grocers didn't routinely use a pump sprayer to wash down their carts, wouldn't doing so once a week be once a week more often than they are currently washed, he isn't sure but thinks that it might be due labor costs or the cost of chemical. I think that at night when the grocery cart round up has been completed they should take a garden pump sprayer filled with this disinfectant and give these cart a solid blast before putting them to bed for the evening, it won't be enough to wash the carts clean but certainly will disinfect them.  Sanitizers are different than disinfectants, to learn more about the differences between the two read this article.

Chemical Free Cleaning
click for info on ActiveIon

David, who is a green cleaning expert, tells me that there is a more residual free sanitizer that uses a natural plant based oils one of which called is thymol.  Beneficial oils like Thymol not only is a disinfectant but also a food additive and is also know for repelling vertebrate.  LiveStrong has a nice article detailing some of the essential oils available and their uses, you can read that article "The Best Disinfecting Essential Oils"by clicking this link.  You could also use the ActiveIon unit to not only clean your vegetables but for cleaning/disinfecting any and all hard surfaces in your home.

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