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Leave Your Children In
I used to think that scientific
researchers had one main goal in life: spoiling our fun. If they found us
eating meat, they'd show us we're at risk for heart disease. If they found
us smoking, they'd show us we're at risk for lung cancer. If they found us
wrestling, they'd show us we're at risk for brain atrophy.
Scientist: "My research shows that your wrestling career, with so little
brain activity, may result in atrophy."
Professional wrestler: "Wow! That's great news! I've always wanted a
My skepticism about researchers is fading though, thanks partly to a new
study that promises to make my life easier. The study suggests that a
dusty home may be healthier for children.
No, that's not a misprint. Dust is good for kids, according to the
surprising study, which wasn't sponsored by the Hoover Vacuum Co.
Apparently, early exposure to germs in household dust helps children build
strong immune systems, protecting them from developing allergies or
asthma. Excuse me for a moment while I slide my four-month-old daughter
across the back of my television set. Nothing like solving two problems at
Next time my wife complains about dust in our home, I'm going to shake my
head and say, "Please try to think about the baby! She needs all the dust
she can get. Why else do you think I've been emptying the dustpan in her
crib? Instead of complaining, you should be nominating me for Father of
Some of my friends, I'm sorry to report, have spotless, immaculate homes.
Their children can't even find dirt on their television sets, except by
watching Howard Stern. Someone ought to call the health department. Their
homes may need to be quarantined. Perhaps they should be required to take
a course in hygiene.
Allergies are a growing problem in industrialized countries, what with
everyone relying on antibiotics and antibacterial cleaners to keep germs
away. If there's one word that captures the obsessive cleanliness of
today's generations, it's "Atchoo!"
My wife has long warned me about household cleaners, concerned that they
do more harm than good. Indeed, some of the chemicals I've used in our
bathroom are so powerful, there's a law against exporting them to Iraq. We
wouldn't want Mr. Hussein to get his hands on Mr. Clean.
In case you're wondering, the study was conducted in
Switzerland, Austria and Germany, where farm children are exposed to many
germs. (Now you know why it's called Germany.) Though their bedding
contains a lot of dust, farm children have fewer problems with allergies.
And unlike children in urban areas, they aren't even allergic to hard
Given these findings, it may be a good idea to let your children sleep in
a sandbox. But here's a caveat: Too much dust can be harmful. Consult your
doctor on the right amount for your child.
Coming soon to a store near you: Johnson & Johnson's
Baby Dust. Not just for the baby's bottom. If your child gets into the
bottle, you can just smile and say, "Bye-bye allergies! Another one bites
Remember: In the modern world, it's not survival of the fittest. It's
survival of the filthiest.
Copyright 2002 Melvin Durai. All Rights Reserved.
ages 3 and up
preschoolers, the navy and black, hard plastic vacuum stands 26.25 inches
high and has adjustable levers in front, working lights, and a realistic