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Image of Fecal Matter On Shoes | The 'ewww!' on your shoe

An old article but still as relevant today as it was then. Years ago when I lived in Japan, it took a bit getting used to removing your shoes before entering homes, gyms, restaurants, etc. But it made perfect sense and I've continued the practice ever since. I wasn't able to find the actual scientific study (and that it was sponsored by the Cleaning Industry Research Institute does make it suspect) but common sense suggests our shoes are filthy and we'd be smart to leave them at the door.

Related, the Battelle Memorial institute showed that lawn treatment toxins also are tracked into homes and a study from Baylor University found living near asphalt roads sealed with coal tar increases your risk of cancer because the toxins settle in your home as dust particles and are brought in on your shoes.


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Great article! Yes, agreed, while not a new topic, it's still a solid issue in home microbiomes and will most likely continue to be in the near (and far) future. According to a study conducted by M. Alam et al., Investigation of potentially pathogenic Clostridium difficile contamination in household environs

As Clostridium difficile spores are resistant to many household cleaning products, the potential for community household contamination is high. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of toxigenic C. difficile from environmental sources from a large urban area. Three to 5 household items or environmental dust was collected from 30 houses in Houston, Texas. A total of 127 environmental samples were collected from shoe bottoms (n = 63), bathroom surfaces (n = 15), house floor dusts (n = 12), or other household surfaces (n = 37). Forty one of 127 samples (32.3%) grew C. difficile. All 41 isolates were positive for toxin A and B genes and no isolate was positive for binary toxin genes. Shoe bottom swab samples had the highest percent of positive samples (25/63; 39.7%) followed by bathroom/toilet surfaces (5/15; 33.3%), house floor dust (4/12; 33.3%), and other surface swabs (7/37; 18.9%). Strains were grouped into 25 different ribotypes, the most prevalent type was 001 (5 strains). In conclusion, a high rate of environmental contamination of C. difficile was observed from community households from a large urban area.

Not surprisingly, shoe bottom swab samples had the highest contamination of the different samples tested; providing solid environmental and epidemiological evidence that shoes don't belong in the common areas of the home, which may contribute to disease spread, especially with young children present. While it is uncommon for families and homes in Western societies to remove shoes before entering the main rooms of the house, it is a good practice to adopt, just to make the family home a bit safer.

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Thanks for finding an actual scientific study (although this one is far more recent than the one referred to in the OP). Granted, 127 samples over 30 locations isn't a large sample size but you don't need a PhD or a large study to validate common sense.

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