5-Second Rule May Be Down for the Count

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A local scientist's research may have debunked a long-cherished belief.

    San Diego State University's Scott Kelley, who is an associate professor of biology, investigated the five-second rule -- you know, when you drop something on the floor and you pick it up and eat it anyway. According to Kelley's research -- which was funded by the Clorox Company, which makes bleach and other sanitizing products -- the theory doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny.

    During the study, researchers dripped sippy cups, baby bottles and carrots on tile floors, carpets, highchair trays and countertops, and believe a "significant amount of germs were transferred to both the carrot and sippy cup within five seconds," according to a Clorox news release.

    "We wanted to know if there was any truth to the theory that bacteria need time to attach to surfaces of fallen food or commonly dropped items like sippy cups," Kelly said in the news release. "Unfortunately, for those of us who lived by that rule, it looks like a total myth -- five seconds is all it takes."

    Sixty-five percent of the 500 parents polled by Clorox said they practiced the five-second rule.

    Kelly's carrot research consisted of dropping three baby carrots on various surfaces; a control carrot was not dropped. All four were tested, and in each case, "when germs were transferred, germs attached to the clean carrot within five seconds," according to the news release.