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Old 08-18-2009, 10:47 PM
76 posts, read 251,591 times
Reputation: 42


Flip-flops are a magnet for dangerous, deadly bacteria The flip-flop is the preferred summer shoe for many New Yorkers. But on city streets, the flimsy footwear can be deadly. That film of grime that coats your feet at the end of a day of flopping around town is some dangerous dirt. Lab tests of two reporters' flip-flops, worn for four days, revealed a potentially deadly germ - Staphylococcus aureus - lurking on the rubber. If it seeps into a cut on your foot - an entirely common summer affliction - the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and, if left untreated, kill you. "It can make you pretty sick if it got into a wound and into your blood, where it could attack any of your internal organs," says Dennis Kinney, Ph.D., the manager of the microbiology lab at EMSL Analytical. "If you didn't treat it with antibiotics, you could die from it."

Kinney's team at EMSL tested two pairs of flip-flops we wore throughout the city for four days each. The sandals took a trip on the F, A, C, G, 2 and 3 trains, went on walks through Prospect Park, out to bars in the West Village, to a Cyclones baseball game in Coney Island and rode the Cyclone. Twice. They even waded through a murky public restroom at the Coney Island subway station. The results? Pretty heinous. The $3.50 flip-flops harbored approximately 18,100 bacteria of the five most prevalent varieties found. (Unsurprisingly, the pair that made the trip to Coney Island and stopped off in the public restroom had roughly 13,900 more bacteria.) And that's what accumulated in just four days. "If you wear shoes for three months, 93% have fecal bacteria and 20% have E. coli," says Dr. Charles P. Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona.

While some of the bacteria found were common, non-disease-causing staphylococci, more dangerous offenders lurked underfoot. Aerococcus viridans and Rothia mucilaginosa, bacteria that normally reside in the mouth, were present. "It's not a good sign," says Kinney. "It means that people are spitting. If someone were sick and spitting on the ground, you could pick something up." Not to mention the worst offender, Staph aureus. Worst-case scenario: It enters your bloodstream, goes untreated and you die. But even mere contact with the skin can yield nasty results. "Staph aureus can be pretty dangerous," says Kinney. "This strain isn't methicillin-resistant (MRSA), but it is Staph aureus, and it can still cause infections - typically boils and skin infections."

Still not convinced, flip-flop lovers? Here's a compelling argument for putting on a pair of shoes: "There's more bacteria in the city," says Dr. Philip M. Tierno Jr., the director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University's Langone Medical Center. "There's garbage and rat-doo. This city is strewn with rats, and rats are harbingers of all sorts of germs. The same is true with cockroaches. It is all potentially harmful."
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:38 AM
Location: Upstate NY
1,289 posts, read 2,428,390 times
Reputation: 3689
That's disgusting. Not the kind of thing I should have read while eating breakfast. Very informative though and it makes me even happier that I don't wear flip flops or live in the city.
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Old 08-19-2009, 04:58 PM
Location: Sunny Florida
7,136 posts, read 11,209,639 times
Reputation: 9473
Any kind of shoe or sandal is going to be pretty disgusting. Look at what we walk in! That is, afterall, why we wear shoes in the first place.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:29 PM
Location: Portlandia "burbs"
10,234 posts, read 14,246,489 times
Reputation: 25899
Most flip-flops can get thrown right into the wash like anything else. I do mine.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:53 PM
Location: WNC
1,527 posts, read 2,278,063 times
Reputation: 1425
great.....still gonna wear my flops.
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:04 PM
Location: in here, out there
3,062 posts, read 5,782,600 times
Reputation: 5109
I wear my Keen sandals all the time but they get disgusting quickly. I like to put a little soap in them and walk around in the creek for a bit. That cleans them off nicely.
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:06 PM
Location: Pa
42,705 posts, read 45,374,743 times
Reputation: 25107
I don't live in the city and tend to wash mine or chuck them if they get gross.
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:23 PM
Location: Alabama!
5,873 posts, read 16,183,029 times
Reputation: 4399
Conclusion: Don't wear flip-flops in NYC?
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Old 08-20-2009, 01:07 PM
Location: Philaburbia
32,919 posts, read 61,353,333 times
Reputation: 55135
That's a silly article. How would flip flops be any different from sandals as far as dirt on your feet goes?
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:03 PM
Location: Middle America
37,223 posts, read 43,473,391 times
Reputation: 51926
No filth EVER gets to your feet in other shoes. Right.
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