If you're squeamish, you should probably stop reading now. Are the new readers gone yet? Good. So here's the situation: Demodex mites are on (or more properly, in) your face right now. They live inside hair follicles, and over a roughly 2.5-week lifecycle do everything you'd expect a little gross mite to do: Eat, poop, and reproduce. On your face.
One of the grodiest aspects of these mites is their lack of an anus. I'll let this nice video from the folks at Gross Science (brought to you by WGBH and Nova) explain how the poop comes out:
But don't worry. The mites were there before you read this, and they'll be there after you read this. They're like happy little pooping friends, but on your face. They are probably not harmful and might even be beneficial. So just don't think about them. Nope, no reason to freak out whatsoever.
Why You Might Not Want to Order Tea or Coffee On Your Next Flight
BY Kirstin Fawcett
October 18, 2017
A cup of tea or coffee at 40,000 feet may sound like a great way to give yourself an extra energy boost during a tiring trip, but it might be healthier to nap away your fatigue—or at least wait until hitting ground to indulge in a caffeine fix. Because, in addition to being tepid and watery, plane brew could be teeming with germs and other harmful life forms, according to Business Insider.
Multiple studies and investigations have taken a closer look at airplane tap water, and the results aren’t pretty—or appetizing. In 2002, The Wall Street Journal conducted a study that looked at water samples taken from 14 different flights from 10 different airlines. Reporters discovered “a long list of microscopic life you don’t want to drink, from Salmonella and Staphylococcus to tiny insect eggs," they wrote.
And they added, "Worse, contamination was the rule, not the exception: Almost all of the bacteria levels were tens, sometimes hundreds, of times above U.S. government limits."
A 2004 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that water supplies on 15 percent of 327 national and international commercial aircrafts were contaminated to varying degrees [PDF]. This all led up to the 2011 Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, an EPA initiative to make airlines clean up. But in 2013, an NBC investigation found that at least one out of every 10 commercial U.S. airplanes still had issues with water contamination.
Find out how airplane water gets so gross, and why turning water into coffee or tea isn’t enough to kill residual germs by watching Business Insider’s video below.
Why You Should Never Flush Dental Floss Down the Toilet
BY Kirstin Fawcett
October 2, 2017
Dental floss may be good for our teeth, but it’s bad for our sewer systems—which is why you should never flush the stringy product down the toilet.
Home toilets are designed with our convenience and hygiene in mind, but some people have taken to using them as de facto trash cans, flushing wet wipes, paper towels, feminine products, and other items. While gone from your bathroom in the blink of an eye, these waste products don’t just disappear into some magical abyss: They end up mucking up our pipes and pumps, causing problems at wastewater treatment plants and, in some extreme cases, merging with congealed oils, grease, fat, and waste to form noxious blobs called fatbergs.
Meanwhile, some wastewater treatment plant employees claim to have discovered everything from baseballs to cash to underwear—indicating that people are flushing far more than just household and sanitary products.
Compared to the objects above, dental floss—which is made from thin strands of nylon or Teflon—seems like it should be the least of any sewage worker’s concerns. And as you ready for bed, it’s probably far easier to toss your floss into the toilet than to remember to regularly empty the tiny trash can under your sink.
But since dental floss isn’t biodegradable, it doesn’t dissolve in its watery grave. Instead, it can combine with clumps of hair, toilet paper, wipes, sanitary products, and other gross stuff to form large clumps that clog sewers and pumps, sanitary companies told HuffPost. These blobs can also combine with tree roots and grease, cause sewage spills, and harm the motors in septic systems.
These instances aren't just inconvenient, they're also costly, as they result "in the need for local agencies that own and operate sewer systems to spend more money on maintenance to keep the sewers and pumps clear,” a spokesperson for the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County told HuffPost.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t floss regularly, but from here on out, the only things you should be flushing down the toilet are human waste and toilet paper.
For a clear idea of what other kinds of things shouldn’t be going down our drains, check out the video below, which was created by the City of Spokane Department of Wastewater Management and shared in partnership with the Water Environment Federation.