Faux leather jackets, white leather shoes, and even the occasional pair of faux leather shoes have become trendy in recent years, but a recent study suggests that some of these styles are harmful to your health.
The study, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, looked at more than 3,000 participants and found that many people are using their own body fluids as a source of food and water and are at risk for the development of certain diseases.
For instance, more than half of participants in the study said they used their own urine as a substitute for water, and a large majority said they did not wash their hands after using the restroom, even though washing them with soap and water may be more effective than scrubbing them with a towel.
“In terms of water use, the biggest problem we see is not necessarily just water use but the water reuse of people’s body fluids,” Dr. John Baughman, the lead author of the study and an associate professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, told CBC News.
“The water used for washing your hands, washing your hair, washing any of your body fluids, all those things contribute to a greater likelihood of some sort of disease in terms of bacteria and yeast that can be transferred.”
In order to avoid water reuse, many people wash their body fluids with soap, which is a safer method, Baughmans said.
But because soap can have harmful bacteria in it, some people have resorted to using hand sanitizer.
He added that while the water use in the studies may not be surprising, the way they were conducted is not.
“I think this is really important because these are the people that are going to make the decisions and they’re going to decide if they want to be a member of the water company,” Baughmen said.
“It’s not like there’s a public health advisory committee and they all want to make sure people are getting clean water.”
The study was conducted in the U.S. between 2006 and 2014.
Participants were recruited through online advertisements and the Internet and were asked to complete questionnaires about their use of water and other bodily fluids, as well as their consumption of sugary drinks, alcohol and other food.
Researchers found that women who used more water than the recommended amount for a period of time were more likely to develop kidney disease, high blood pressure and heart disease than those who used less water.
The research also showed that women with diabetes, obesity and other medical conditions were more than twice as likely to become diabetic as those with similar body weights.
Baughman also noted that the research showed that people who use their own fluids are likely to be at increased risk for infections like UTIs and pneumonia.
“It’s really hard to explain to a physician why that is,” Boughmans said, but added that it could be because some of the bacteria in the water may have gotten into the hands of the person who used the water and may have been transferred into the water system.
The study has several limitations.
It was based on self-reported data collected in the United States, so it may not apply to other parts of the world.
The researchers did not measure other factors like whether people drank more water, whether they had pre-existing conditions or whether they were taking other medications.
The authors also did not determine whether the water used was purified, so the researchers cannot definitively say if people were actually using clean water or whether it was contaminated.
However, the researchers say the findings do point to the need for more research.
“What we know is that there is a need to understand more about what is actually going on in our bodies,” Broughmans said in an interview with CBC News, “and that’s where these data comes in.”
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