Watch Out for Germs at Cosmetic Counters: You May Want to Think Twice Before Trying on That Lip Gloss!

The “Today” show decided to take a look at just how clean those cosmetic testers are at major retailers. With their hidden camera in tow, Today Show Consumer Correspondent, Janice Lieberman and I swabbed several makeup testers to look for germs. We chose a store where samples were readily available for anyone to try. But even before we tested the makeup, we were surprised to see just how many women dipped their fingers in the makeup pots, applying shadow to their eyes and gloss to their lips. Many did not even use applicators made available to them. Just imagine all those fingers, spreading germs to all the other customers. You can read the entire eye-opening transcript of our report at this link: Read more:


Caring for Aging Parents Podcast with WWJ-AM 950 Reporter, Pat Sweeting

WWJ-AM 950 Radio

WWJ-AM 950 Reporter: Pat Sweeting

Since 1981, Pat Sweeting has been a valued employee of the nation’s oldest commercial radio station, where there’s always something to keep the adrenaline pumping in overdrive. Pat joined WWJ Newsradio 950 as a news anchor and reporter. Over the years, she has interviewed everyone from Presidents to Hollywood stars to a Grand Wizard of the Michigan Ku Klux Klan as he was pelted with vegetables by passing protestors. Pat has also been able to work on breaking news and award winning stories.

For years you’ve also heard Sweeting bring you health and lifestyle news in a trio of feature reports: “60 Seconds on Health”, “Your Health” and “Prescription for Health.” She has now re-focused her efforts towards more general reporting, but continues to watch for interesting and exciting medical and lifestyle news from doctors, hospitals and universities at home and around the world.

PODCAST ONE: Pat speaks with Environmental Scientist and Indoor Air Quality & Mold Expert Connie Morbach, M.S., CHMM, CIE on the merits of having your home inspected before renovating or putting it on the market. Here’s the link to the podcast:

PODCAST TWO: Pat and Connie also discuss on her Caring for Aging Parents 03/26 podcast, in-home air quality and its implications for Aging In Place. Listen to the podcast here:

What’s in Household Dust? Don’t Ask! Time Magazine Reports.

There’s a higher ick factor to dust than you might think. And there’s a science to how it gets around — a science that David Layton and Paloma Beamer, professors of environmental policy at the University of Arizona, are exploring. Here’s the link to the story:,8599,1966870,00.html

Can Exposed Individuals Return to Contaminated Homes After Remediation?

The answer to this question is dependent upon many variables with the most important being, “how has the receptor (the exposed person) changed?” I have performed post remediation testing on thousands of homes. I always collect a combination of culturable and spore trap samples, as well as settled dust if indicated. Most of the time occupants are able to return to effectively remediated houses. However, sometimes people who become sick from mold exposure are not able to re-occupy even though all results, including ERMI testing or Environmental Moldiness Index (a DNA-based test that compares mold profiles in typical homes vs. contaminated homes), demonstrated acceptable conditions.  In these cases, the affected individuals had one or a combination of the following exposure issues:

  1. They lived in the contaminated house for many years
  2. Remediation was performed with sub-standard containment measures
  3. They spent most of their time in the home
  4. They attempted to remediate mold themselves

The individuals in these cases were so adversely affected that very low, often undetectable levels of contamination triggered reactions.

The inability to re-occupy a remediated home without symptoms becomes a point of contention with insurance companies, which generally claim that the house must only be restored to conditions that existed prior to the loss.  Insurance companies generally will not address the fact that irreversible health effects preclude safe reoccupancy of a remediated house for some people. Far too often the outcome is emotional and financial devastation.

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