Web Zap*Germs Archive

September 01, 2004

New Research Center Works to Improve Health Through Everyday Hygiene

Interesting article in the Boston Globe about the work of Prof. Elizabeth Scott, of Simmons College in Boston. Scott has established the Center for Hygiene and Health in the Home and Community at Simmons, to study how infectious microorganisms are spread in the home, daycare centers, offices, grocery stores -- in short, all the places we frequent on a daily basis -- and how we can better combat those germs.

The Center is the first of its kind in the U.S. According to its own webpage, the Center "will focus on issues relating to hygiene and infection control in areas such as: consumer food safety, home hygiene, daycare, preschool, homecare, sports and leisure activity, travel and hospitality."

Here's the Globe on Scott's current research:

Scott and Nancie Herbold, the center's other codirector, are just beginning their first two research projects -- a pilot study looking at the way people prepare baby formula, which they hope to expand to South America; and an examination of whether the type of mop -- Swiffers, string mops or sponge mops -- makes a difference in the amount of bacteria cleaned up.

Using bacteria collected from a real kitchen mop used for years, Scott and her researchers are testing whether different mops perform differently. They are also tracing the bacteria's journey from the mopping bucket to the kitchen sink, where the typical mopper would slop the dirty water down the drain, potentially spewing bacteria all over the faucet and basin.''My interest in mopping is not so much to see what's happening on the floor," Scott said. ''We're looking to see if some mopping systems reduce the spread of bacteria."

It will be interesting to see what contributions Prof. Scott and her team can make in making us more aware of the importance of maintaining simple cleanliness to ward off serious infection.


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