A pair of scientists at Marymount Manhattan College on the Upper East Side have confirmed what many of us have suspected — whether or not you see it, NYC sidewalks are disgusting and we’re all tracking dog shit into buildings and our apartments with our shoes.
Even if you manage only to walk in the ‘clean spots’ on an Upper East Side sidewalk peppered with dog poo, you’re still picking up loads of disease-causing bacteria, according to Dr. Alessandra Leri and Marjan Khan, a professor and graduate from Marymount Manhattan College, respectively, who conducted the brand new research.
“I got the idea for this study five years ago while dodging the dog feces that covers the sidewalks of the Upper East Side,” explained Dr. Leri, “I started wondering about the extent to which fecal bacteria persist on the sidewalk, even once the feces are picked up.
The researchers began by taking samples from clean-looking sidewalks around Marymount Manhattan College’s Upper East Side campus and analyzing just how many invisible pathogens were lurking on the concrete beneath our feet.
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“We wanted to look at locations that look to be clean and just count the bacteria that were there — and the results were astonishing,” said Dr. Leri, a professor of Chemistry and chair of the college’s Natural Sciences department.
“There were so many [bacteria on the sidewalk] that we couldn’t measure them, so we had to keep diluting the samples more and more until we could get an actual measurable number.”
Even puddles found to be loaded with fecal bacteria, further demonstrating that Upper East Side streets and sidewalks are covered in shit, primarily from dogs and birds, even if we don’t see it on the ground.
Then, by taking samples collected locations within Marymount’s main building, located at 221 East 71st Street, between Second and Third Avenues, including the primary entrance, a coffee lounge, the library and a conference area, the researchers found that the areas with higher foot traffic had a much higher amounts of fecal pathogens like Enterococci and E. coli than less busy areas.
“The carpet by the door was disgusting, as you would expect, because people come in and they wipe their feet,” Dr. Leri explained, “but further inside the building, there were less and less bacteria.”
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As for the type of flooring accumulating the most fecal-borne pathogens, the researchers found carpets and rugs collect bacteria like a bone dry sponge soaks up water compared to floors without them.
“What we found was that carpets have more bacteria than uncarpeted floors that are right next to them,” Dr. Leri told Upper East Site, “carpets are kind of like reservoirs that hold on to the bacteria.”
Although the scientists didn’t study bacteria inside a residential building, they say the results directly translate — and should be eyeopening for Upper East Siders. As for how to keep yourself or your family from tracking fecal bacteria all over your apartment, there’s just one thing you need to do, says Dr. Leri.
“Taking off your shoes right when you get in the door is the best policy.”
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I don’t need research to know this facts as a very clean vegan person I always say to people to take fasten their shoes
FINALLY, someone else who gets it. I love dogs. But we shouldn’t have any domestic animals pooping in the open.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but we should be training our little friends to poop in our toilets. Many people have done it. It’s not super hard. But it’s a way better public health policy than just having them poop *everywhere else*!
And yet folks want to look at me and my family like we have two heads when we make them take their shoes before they step in the apt…I guess Grandma was right…no shoes in the house!
My parents, for years, resented being asked to take off their shoes before entering our apartment. I had one friend who wanted to wear a newly bought pair of shoes to a party I was hosting, and she said she couldn’t because she couldn’t wear her shoes in my apartment. I don’t get it…Footwear off before or upon entering your home if that works for you. I heard of one situation where a host included on an invitation that she has a shoeless home, and shoe racks and slippers will be provided. No problems because guests were alerted in advance. Shit is too comedic. Poop will be taken seriously
I saw the title, and thought this might be a spoof! LOL