Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune:
CHICAGO — An Arizona woman who took on McDonald’s for unsanitary indoor playgrounds has been banned from eight of the fast-food chain’s locations in the Phoenix area.
Erin Carr-Jordan has spent much of the past eight months calling attention to dirty conditions at indoor fast food playgrounds, including McDonald’s.[...]
Carr-Jordan, a psychology professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, says she has documented graffiti, grime and pathogens at play areas in 13 states in hopes of spurring legislation requiring inspections and other regulations for the playgrounds, which currently fall through the regulatory cracks. [...]
Carr-Jordan believes she was banned from the restaurants for giving local health authorities lab results showing the presence of infectious staph bacteria, among other pathogens, at one restaurant.
Are the MacDonald's playgrounds really less clean than any other place that children gather? I don't have a strong opinion on Dr. Carr-Jordan's efforts, but the hygiene hypothesis did come to mind as I read this story. The hygiene hypothesis states that reduced childhood exposure to various microorganisms and pathogens has led to major increases in a number of conditions including allergies and asthma.
If there is no direct evidence linking these playgrounds to serious health problems in children, sanitizing them might do more harm than good.