Let Them Eat Dirt?

Posted on by Paula Gallagher

A Northwestern University study, published today, suggests that parents should ease up on the antibacterial soaps because germs can be beneficial. According to the lead author, Thomas McDade, "Contrary to assumptions related to earlier studies, our research suggests that ultra-clean, ultra-hygienic environments early in life may contribute to higher levels of inflammation as an adult, which in turn increases risks for a wide range of diseases." Hygiene is still important, but if the cookie falls on the floor, it may not be so awful if your child picks it up and eats it. The message that he wants Americans to get from this study is about the importance of being exposed early in life to common microbes and bacteria.