First things first … I hate wearing shoes. The instant I walk in the door my shoes are off and they stay off until I have to go out in public again. I’m not like Cody Lundin but I’ve gone barefoot most of my life.
On the other hand, Bill has different shoes he wears indoors versus the ones he wears out in public.
In hindsight, these are both good practices when you consider all the stuff you track in from the great outdoors.
Removing shoes at the door is very common in many countries and cultures, but Americans rarely practice shoe removal.
But if you have kids (both 2 legged ones and 4 legged furry ones), remember all that gunk you bring in — including pollens, pesticides, poop and more — gets into the fibers of your carpets.
Of course if you have linoleum, tile or hardwood floors, those are much easier to clean … but how often do you clean them?
Some studies show that we are tracking all types of dangerous pollutants into our homes. For example:
- A 2010 study by the University of Arizona found about 60% of household dust comes from outside and is primarily brought into the home from the bottom of shoes. The findings published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology show contaminants include arsenic, lead and DDT!
- Typically when people hear lead, they think of lead-based paint used in older homes which can cause problems for young children and the unborn. However, lead is commonly tracked into homes on shoes due to auto exhaust, smelting and soil deposits.
- Another 2010 study by the California state Department of Public Health and CHAMACOS revealed 22 pesticides were commonly found in the dust of homes in Salinas. Dr. Frank Lipman explains the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institute of Environmental Health found that low level chronic pesticide exposure as found in these homes can cause numerous health problems, especially for fetuses and young children.
- Rodale reports a study published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology, found a connection between toxic coal tar and cancer. Coal tar, a known carcinogen used in sealants, is tracked into homes from driveways, playgrounds and parking lots.
Think about this next time you’re stretched out on the floor playing with your kids or critters. And also remember little ones routinely transfer things from the floor to their hands to their mouths. Eating some dirt is good … but sometimes it can be bad.
So … going forward, consider taking off your shoes before entering your home to reduce the amount of toxins and other crud you bring in. And ask family members and visitors to remove their shoes at the door too. Realize some visitors may be uncomfortable with it, but hopefully most will comply. There are some cool signs and doormats that can help drive home the point… 🙂
Stay safe and have a great week! j & B