posted July 12, 2012 by alexis |
last week, we had the pleasure of having dr. ben tanner, head of a disinfectant testing lab, come speak to us about the good, bad and beneficial of the germ world. even better than that, he offered to write a guest post for the method blog about his talk. so without further ado, ben, take it away…
method is one of my favorite consumer brands. besides loving their products, I admire their commitment to the environment and dedication to innovation. I also know that the folks at method love to soak up technical information that pertains to their business. and it just so happens that I love to talk about microorganisms and how they fit into modern life.
I figured a little bit of suspense wouldn’t hurt, either, so Antimicrobial Test Labs shipped out some agar plates for method to play with before my visit. you know, just to see how germy they really are.
I had several goals in mind for my chat with method. the first was to impress upon them the ubiquity of microorganisms on earth. in fact, some recent studies indicate that the average 200 lb. adult carries around six pounds of microorganisms with them. I’ll wait while you take that in. microbes are everywhere!
but don’t panic, not all microbes are bad. microbes fall into two main groups: those that can and will make a person sick and those that are effectively harmless and sometimes even helpful. we microbiologists call the bad germs “pathogens” and the other germs, well, germs.
I also spoke about the “hygiene hypothesis,” which is the notion that some exposure to germs can be good for people. and it’s true! studies suggest that children who grow up with more germ exposure tend to have less allergy and asthma later in life. we spent the rest of our time talking about ways to let the harmless germs live while also reducing risk from pathogens that can be present in our environment. it was a blast.
dr. ben’s top three tips
1) wash hands frequently
2) thoroughly cook raw meats, especially ground meat and poultry
3) when disinfecting surfaces at home, allow plenty of time for the product to do its job against the germs – usually 5 minutes or more