Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Take off Your Shoes and Breathe a Sigh of Relief

Many societies in the world consider it impolite to wear your shoes inside someone's home.  Well, they may be onto something!  When you think about all of the places your shoes have been during the course of a day (assuming you travel outside your house), and all of the crud that they can pick up, it seems only sensible that leaving your shoes at the door is a good thing to do.

Back in 1991, the EPA did something called a "Door Mat Study" to measure all of the bad nasties that we pick up on our shoes and bring home.

The bad news:   Their study found that we bring lead dust, chemicals, pesticides, animal dander and animal feces in from the outside.  That's pretty gross.  Of most concern was the lead dust and it's toxic effect on children.

The good news:  By doing a few simple things (like taking off our shoes at the door), we can dramatically reduce tracking all of these pollutants into our homes.  The Door Mat Study found that:

Using door mats cut toxic lead dust inside the home almost in half.
Taking shoes off at the door cut the lead dust by 60%, better than door mats.
Doing both actions — door mats and shoes off — over a five month period wiped away a stunning 98.5% of the toxic dust. Virtually eliminated all of it. 

So there you have it.  Get yourself a good door mat, take off your shoes and let your little piggies breathe cleaner air.   If you have pets that go outside, definitely go for the door mat!  And, the next time you feel weird about asking someone to remove their shoes at your house, don't.

Next up:  The Ugly Truth About Carpets (somewhat of a continuation of this post...)

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