New Yorkers Walking the City's Sidewalks May Be Bringing Home Fecal Matter on Their Shoes, Study Finds

If you live in a big city, something gross is following you home and it is on the bottom of your shoes.

Those living in a city like New York are likely bringing home gross things on the bottom of their shoes, a new study finds.

“We found astonishing levels of enterococci, which are a fecal indicator bacteria,” Professor Alessandra Leri of Marymount Manhattan College told WCBS.

That means New Yorkers are trekking home feces.

Leri, who recently published a study about contaminants on the sidewalks of Manhattan, noted her team didn't just take samples of the dirtiest things they could find.

“We look for puddles where there's no evidence of feces,” she said. “No residue. So they appear to be on sidewalk surfaces that are not fouled, and we would sample them."

Even when the sidewalk looked pristine, the microscope told a different story.

“Thirty thousand bacterial cells per 100 milliliter of water,” she said. “The EPA has a benchmark that they use to close beaches and that benchmark is 110 cells per milliliters of water."

If the results make your stomach turn, Leri says you may want to start forming a new ritual as soon as you walk in the door.

"The easiest thing you can do to avoid tracking this into your home is to remove your shoes at the doorway and leave them there,” she said.

Related Stories