|Re: Chlorine bleach rinse||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Kay Argyle (argylemines.utah.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 14:24:47 -0600 (MDT)|
The most recent offense against hygiene that set my room-mate to moaning again about the need for food-handling classes was a baby being brought into the kitchen, and the cook and assistants not washing up again after cuddling her. I agree, first get people to do the things that accomplish the most with the least effort and cost, like hand-washing. Our commercial dishwasher (Hobart?) does a 190°F rinse. There are bacteria capable of surviving in boiling water (212°F). (Fortunately most bacteria that prey on humans aren't thermophilic.) "Water at 150°F will cause a third degree burn (full thickness burn requiring hospitalization and skin grafts) in just half a second." -- http://www.safeshower.com/anti.htm One thing hot water accomplishes is that, especially in conjunction with detergent, it increases the solubility of food residue, such as grease, leaving a surface which, while not sterile, is at least not actively hospitable to bacteria. You have to balance risks. Anything you do to reduce a risk has risks of its own. If the preventative is not being used effectively (like if a brief swish in dilute chlorine solution doesn't allow time for the chlorine to act), you may be *increasing* your overall risk by adding the risk caused by the preventative without subtracting the risk you are trying to moderate. People tend to overestimate risks that are hard to assess, new, or not under their own control, and to underestimate risks that are common. They overestimate whatever risk du jour the media is currently wide-eyed about. Chlorine causes subtle damage in ways that are only recently being recognized and is used by big for-profit companies who only listen to objections that it harms the environment or the local population if fines or lousy PR start affecting their bottom line. So we're all frightened about chlorine. Food poisoning is ho-hum -- I bend the rules all the time, once in a while something I've eaten "disagrees with me," yet I'm still alive, it can't be a big risk, right? Nonetheless, there is evidence for greater mortality from food poisoning than from chlorine. So do you want to (maybe) die from chlorine toxicity twenty years from now or (maybe) food poisoning next year? (I'm no fan of chlorine myself, but I do think it's better than a lot of the alternatives, such as E. coli number-whatever, hepatitis C, or cholera.) This discussion seems to be equating BLEACH = CHLORINE BLEACH. Where does oxygen bleach fit into this? Does it kill bacteria as effectively as chlorine? What are its environmental effects? What about a vinegar-peroxide rinse? I do appreciate the people who have actual knowledge of regulations, chemistry, bacteriology, etc., speaking up and giving us some facts to chew on, instead of opinions and fears and half-understood reports of scientific studies. Kay Wasatch Commons
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