90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Are We Really Too Clean?

With guest host John Donvan

A new take on the great unwashed:  Backed by new research into good germs, some Americans are putting the soap away.

An outdoor shower. (Jordan Merrick / Creative Commons)

An outdoor shower. (Jordan Merrick / Creative Commons)

The signs say it all. Please shower before entering the pool. All employees must wash hands before returning to work. Or to go more Biblical: Cleaniness is next to Godliness. Clean is a social value. It’s the American way. But is there such a thing overworrying the clean thing? Or, is clean good, but are we going about it in the wrong way? Science is beginning to suggest possibly yes to both questions. While socially, more folks are skipping the soap, the shampoo, the deodorant, and everything that we tend to define as cleansing. And how popular are they after that? Or. are they onto something? This hour Up On Point: Hygiene hijinks. Rethinking clean.

– John Donvan

Guests

Julia Scott, journalist and radio producer. Editor of the forthcoming book, “Drivel: Deliciously Bad Writing By Your Favorite Authors.” (@juliascribe)

Elizabeth Grice, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Principal investigator in the school’s Grice Lab.

James Heywood, director of AO Biome, a Cambridge-based startup bacterial therapy company. (@jamie_heywood)

From The Reading List

New York Times: My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment — “My skin began to change for the better. It actually became softer and smoother, rather than dry and flaky, as though a sauna’s worth of humidity had penetrated my winter-hardened shell. And my complexion, prone to hormone-related breakouts, was clear. For the first time ever, my pores seemed to shrink. As I took my morning “shower” — a three-minute rinse in a bathroom devoid of hygiene products — I remembered all the antibiotics I took as a teenager to quell my acne. How funny it would be if adding bacteria were the answer all along.”

CNN: Minnesota issues ban on antibacterial ingredient — “The health effects of triclosan for humans are still unclear. Some studies suggest that the chemical could be linked to antibiotic resistance, but evidence is mixed, and the Environmental Protection Agency says more research is needed to evaluate risk. There is some evidence that long-term exposure to some ingredients in antibacterial products, including triclosan, “could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects,” according to the FDA.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Pfizer joins Second Genome for microbiome study — “Scientists have developed several theories about the roles that different gut bacteria play in the ways that the body breaks down and uses nutrients and vitamins, processes they suspect relate to metabolic disease. For example, microbiome transplant studies have suggested that the introduction of specific microbes can effectively drive weight loss or gain.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 26, 2014
Getting together with your family and loved ones at Thanksgiving and the holidays doesn't have to lead to  arguments and fights. (Meg Hunt / Flickr)

The Thanksgiving get-together and all the family drama trimmings. Sage advice from advice columnists.

Nov 26, 2014
A 1597 map of Lesbos / Mytilene, Greece by Giacomo Franco. (Flickr / Creative Commons)

How Aristotle invented science. The great ancient Greek, and life on Earth.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 25, 2014
A 40-pound tom turkey looks out at Raymond's Turkey Farm in Methuen, Mass., Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. The farm raises approximately 20,000 Broad Breasted White Holland turkeys per year. (AP)

We’ll talk turkey and all the sides. Top chefs join us to answer your Thanksgiving questions.

 
Nov 25, 2014
A protester squirts lighter fluid on a police car as the car windows are shuttered near the Ferguson Police Department after the announcement of the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

Grand Jury decision out of Ferguson — no indictment. We’re on the ground with the latest details and reaction.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Last-Minute Thanksgiving Luxury
Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

Our three Thanksgiving chefs offer up their best bets for delicious, last-minute holiday helpers, including a crunchy celery salad and maple glazed carrots.

More »
Comment
 
Calling All Interns, Calling All Interns
Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Have you ever thought about interning with On Point Radio? Good news: your time is now!

More »
Comment
 
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment