The inside of rubber duckies are full of bacteria. You don't seem surprised
Yes, those must-have pieces of the bath toy arsenal, look great in the store. They're brightly colored bits of joy the first time the little ones dunk 'em in the bathtub.
But what do they look like after a couple of weeks? They're usually caked with cruddy black stuff on the opening in the bottom and have a sticky, slimy substance on the insides. And that stuff is not harmless.
A new study published this week in the journal NPJ Biofilms and Microbiomes says that slimy stuff inside bath toys are teeming with bacteria with scary sounding names, like Bradyrhizobium, Agrobacterium, Caulobacter and Sphingomonas. Also found was Pseudomonas, which typically can cause eye and ear infections in humans.
In the study, researchers tested 19 different bath toys and found that plastic toys plus dirty bath water is a microbe's dream.
The main problem, says lead researcher Frederik Hammes, is what's in the plastic that make up rubber duckies and other bath toys.
"All these soft plastic materials have softeners called plasticizers in them to make them flexible," Hammes, who conducted the study with five other researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, told CNN. "(The plasticizers) migrate out of the plastic into the water. The bacteria like to eat them"
But it's not just the chemicals leaking out of the toys that the microbes and bacteria like. The warm bath water itself is full of things they want too, like nitrogen and phosphates, supplied by soap and human body fluids. So the combination of plasticizers and dirty bath water creates almost a buffet for the bacteria to enjoy.
"It just gives them a nice amount of food to grow," Hammes said.
All this talk of bacteria and infections is definitely scary, but Hammes doesn't want people to freak out about it too much. We're exposed to microbes and bacteria all the time, he said, so "a bit of bacterial exposure is not that bad."
So while it's not so bad for healthy people, anyone with a compromised immune system may need to take more care.
So just what should a parent do to protect their children from the bacteria found in bath toys? Stop buying them? Give up bathing their kids?
No, nothing that dramatic, says Hammes. Some routine cleanliness will do just fine.
"The easiest answer is to wash the toy regularly with clean hot water and a bit of soap," he said. "Also, there are actually many toy ducks without a hole. Less fun, but certainly cleaner."
And that jibes with a trick that every good parent knows: put super glue in the bath toy's hole. Sure, it stops the squirting fun, but it does prevent the plague.
YouTube star Logan Paul posts new emotional apology for showing video of apparent suicide victim
"I should have never posted the video," said the social media star, his voice thick with emotion. "There are a lot of things I should have done differently but I didn't and for that, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry."
Paul's earlier written apology issued on Monday had done little to quell the outrage over the controversial YouTube video.
"I want to apologize to the internet," he said in the new video. "I want to apologize to anyone who has seen the video. I want to apologize to anyone who has been affected or touched by mental illness or depression or suicide. But, most importantly, l want to apologize to the victim and his family."
Paul asked fans to not defend his actions, and said his goal was to entertain and "push the boundaries" but not to be "heartless, cruel or malicious."
"I made a huge mistake," he said. "I don't expect to be forgiven. I'm just here to apologize. I'm ashamed of myself. I'm disappointed in myself and I promise to be better. I will be better."
Paul removed the original video from YouTube, but it remains available online elsewhere. In it, Paul and his group are visiting Aokigahara forest, which is known throughout Japan as "suicide forest." Signs posted there offer a hotline number and urge suicidal visitors to seek help.
They come upon a body hanging in the forest and call out to him. Paul asks someone to call the police twice.
After he sees the body, Paul says: "This is a first for me. This literally probably just happened."
The person's face is blurred in the video.
Someone off camera says: "I don't feel good."
Paul replies: "What, you never stand next to a dead guy?"
The person says, "No."
Paul bursts into laughter. "It was gonna be a joke. This was all a joke. Why did it become so real?" he asks.
"Depression and mental illnesses is not a joke," he says. "We came here with the intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest. This just became very real."
Paul and his friends gather at the parking lot. And he says to the camera that "the smiling and laughing ... is not a portrayal of how I feel about the circumstances. Everyone copes with s*** differently. ... I cope with things with humor."
He said that he was not monetizing the video for "obvious reasons" and gave a graphic video warning.
YouTube weighs in
The reaction to Paul's new apology was mixed.
"I saw that he is very sorry for his actions ... which he should be," one person wrote on Twitter. "I dont think that he should delete his channel."
But another post said: "I get your sorry and stuff but I still find it disrespectful and disturbing for younger viewers!"
YouTube issued a statement on Tuesday:
"Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner. If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated. We partner with safety groups such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide educational resources that are incorporated in our YouTube Safety Center."
On Monday Paul apologized for the Japan video, saying, "I didn't do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity."
"I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought, 'if this video saves just ONE life, it'll be worth it,' I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video," according to his statement posted on Twitter.
But Paul's first apology didn't placate the growing anger and was criticized as being tone-deaf and self-praising.
The backlash over the Japan forest video came quickly.
"The young person who died was not for Paul- not their body, not their image, not their story," tweeted Caitlin Doughty, a mortician and author.
"What a missed opportunity for Paul to NOT use the footage, but vlog in his hotel room later and say 'something intense happened today. I had never seen a dead body. Here's how I felt. Mental illness is awful.' Then he could dab away into the sunset or whatever," she tweeted.
Actor Aaron Paul tweeted his disgust: "Suicide is not a joke."
Some called for Paul to donate his earnings from YouTube to suicide prevention organizations.
A link to the video now says it's been removed by the user.
Some asked why Paul had released such a video when he has a young fan base.
"He doesn't think before he speaks/acts in front of his very easily influenced young audience," tweeted James Charles, a teenage social media star, who also tweeted the suicide prevention hotline.
Among Americans between the ages 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Paul and his friends had been visiting Japan, where the suicide rate is among the highest.
Paul rose to fame with his viral microvideos on Vine using juvenile and physical humor, which he had described as filling "the niche of the crazy college kid." He parlayed that into TV projects and his own merchandise, and gained millions of followers on social media.