Science Project:

Germs on Hands

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Problem:

What areas of the hand do people forget to wash?

Materials:

  • Glo Germ Gel
  • Ultraviolet Light (a fluorescent black light tube will do, or use the flashlight that comes with the Glo Germ kit)
  • Sink
  • Soap
  • Towel
  • 10 Volunteers
  • Notebook
  • Pen

Procedure

  1. Apply the Glo Germ Gel on all the surfaces of of each volunteer's hands.
  2. Instruct all volunteers to wash their hands as they normally would.
  3. Lightly pat their hands dry.
  4. Think about how you wash your hands. How thorough are you? Where do you think germs would hide? Write down your guess, often called a hypothesis, in your notebook.
  5. Shine the ultraviolet light on each volunteer’s hands.
  6. Take careful note of the specific places germs appear to be glowing the brightest.

Results:

Germs should be most prevalent in the spaces between fingers, on the back of the hand, and near the fingernails.

Why?

Careful training instructs workers to wash these high-risk places where germs often build up, especially if employees handle food. Unfortunately, research has shown that a majority of people ignore or forget these areas when washing their hands. Fingernails and the spaces between fingers are also great places for germs to thrive because these spots are darker and moister than other areas of the hand.

Author: Danielle Abadam
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