Think washing your hair is a harmless act of hygiene? Think again! That is, if researchers into the dark sides of shampoo have anything to say about it.
It turns out that a fragrance used in many shampoos is a common allergen that may even cause eczema. Air-oxidized linalool, which is present in up to 80 percent of shampoo products, has been ranked as the third most common eczema-causing substance, falling behind only nickel and cobalt.
And even if you escape the eczema, once you wash and send those suds down the drain, they start spreading drug-resistant bacteria, according to new reports. Sewage sludge collected by municipalities contains antibiotic-resistant microbes that grow faster in the presence of chemicals in shampoo and household detergents.
Defense lawyers take note: Be sure to have some Purell to offer the jury before they deliver the verdict—their clean hands could help your case.
New research in Psychological Science [pdf] suggests that outer cleanliness can loosen people’s moral judgment. While many of us may have experienced the “Macbeth effect,” in which people feel the need to purify themselves after a sinful act, researchers now find that people who had first scrubbed their hands rated sinful acts less harshly.
Researchers asked 40 participants to rate morally questionable situations on a scale from one (perfectly OK) to nine (extremely wrong). The situations ranged from taking money from a found wallet, to eating the family dog to avoid starvation, to “using a kitten for sexual arousal” (seriously). The researchers prepped the participants by asking them first to unscramble sentences. One group was given sentences containing “clean” words like “pure,” “washed,” and “pristine,” while another group was given sentences with neutral words. The clean group gave lower ratings to the objectionable situations—6.7 for some kinky kitten play compared to 8.3 from the neutral group, for example.
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· Underage scientists at Rice University are trying to brew a beer that fights cancer.
· Look what Iran is building: the world’s longest ostrich meat sandwich.