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How Clean Are Shopping Carts?

Shopping carts typically have more fecal matter on them than public toilets do, simply because shopping carts are disinfected less often. Shopping carts also regularly test positive for mucus and saliva, as well as urine, e. coli and juice and blood from raw meat. In fact, the only two regularly used public items that are dirtier than shopping carts are playground equipment and shared armrests on buses and trains.

More facts about shopping carts:

  • Shopping carts also can be quite dangerous for children. Every year, more than 20,000 kids younger than 5 years old are treated in emergency rooms for shopping cart-related injuries.

  • The first shopping carts were actually foldable — they consisted of a frame that could hold two baskets when it was folded out but was only about 5 inches (12 cm) wide when folded up.

  • Shopping carts aren't the only shopping-related item that gets dirty. Reusable bags can become breeding grounds for bacteria if they are not washed regularly, particularly if they are used to carry meat.

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More Info: www.usatoday.com, www.mentalfloss.com

Discuss this Article

MelissaM
Post 4

I wish people would quit being such germaphobes. They are seriously killing us. Antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, ridiculous overuse of antibiotic medications,hyper-clean conditions for small children are all not only atrophying our immune systems, but creating super-bugs. Don't be stupid and eat raw chicken, or play around in the litter box, but quit freaking out over everything--it's so unnecessary.

bear78
Post 3

You can actually buy a handle that goes on a shopping cart. I have one, I take it with me when I go shopping and slip it on a shopping cart. I don't have to touch the cart and I don't have to worry about what is on it.

I have never been someone who is very concerned about sanitation and I don't usually go out of my way to protect myself from germs. I bought a sanitary handle not for myself but for my son.

As soon as my son was old enough to sit on a shopping cart, it was impossible to prevent him from touching the handle and putting it in his mouth or even trying to suck on the handle.

That's when I decided I had to do something. Kids are already so vulnerable and they can catch germs and viruses very easily. I could not put his health in risk like that. That's why I would especially recommend parents to use a shopping cart handle.

serenesurface
Post 2

This topic has been discussed for several years now. There was even a bill in the House of Representatives about making it a requirement for stores to provide sanitary wipes for shopping carts. The bill didn't pass even though there were representatives that were worried about how this was affecting the health of kids. I also think the bill should have passed.

Most representatives were against the bill because they argued that there would be no end to sanitation in stores if the bill was passed. In a way they are right, there are many other things that accumulate germs like money and phone handles. If we enforce public sanitation this way, I think it might lead to paranoia.

What do you guys think? Do you think the bill about sanitation wipes for shopping carts should have passed or not?

ddljohn
Post 1

I'm not sure how to react because I'm shocked to hear about these facts and worried about my next trip to the store. But I think we can take some easy step to protect ourselves.

Maybe some of you have noticed that some shopping stores carry sanitizing wipes at their entrances? I know not all do, so everyone should probably keep a pack of those with them at all times. We can wipe the cart's handle with it before we start shopping.

I do let my daughter sit on the shopping cart when I go shopping with her. It's just too difficult to keep an eye on her or carry her the entire time otherwise. But I always place a little blanket before I let her sit and I never leave her alone in it. I also never give her food to munch on before she washes her hands after (or during) shopping.

These are really simple things to do, but I'm sure it would be enough to largely protect us from the germs and dangers of the shopping cart.

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