PHOENIX - As part of the "Healthy Homes" initiative, the City of Phoenix is warning residents about the dangerous germs and fungi you could be tracking into your homes through the soles of your shoes.
There is a direct correlation between health and housing, according to Laura Smith, the Project Manager of the city's Lead Free and Healthy Homes program.
"Although we live in a beautiful state in a beautiful city, most people spend about 70% of their time inside their homes," said Smith.
Studies done by researchers at the University of Arizona and the Environmental Protection Agency showed everything from fecal matter to E-coli, rodent droppings, toxic herbicides, cigarette residue, pollen, and lead dust on the soles of shoes they tested.
This is all stuff you're potentially bringing inside your home. Smith warned that this could affect the health of young children who often put their hands in their mouth after playing on the floor, as well as it could affect the elderly population.
Health experts advised keeping your homes cleaner and safer with a no-shoes rule, something practiced by many Asian communities for centuries.
Reiko Yasui Reavis, the Executive Director of the Japanese Friendship Garden brought the tradition of removing shoes at the doorway, right before entering the home, from Japan to her home in Phoenix.
"The reason why is in Japan we sit on the floor, we sleep on the floor on the Futon, so we are always close to the floor. It's kind of dirty to bring shoes into the house," said Yasui Reavis.
Studies showed the floors of your home are actually dirtier than your toilet seat.
"I don't want those germs in my house, especially when you have little babies," said Yasui Reavis.
Health experts advise removing your shoes and carrying them into your shoe closet at home, then washing your hands. You can also wipe the soles of your shoes with anti-bacterial wipes, or throw tennis shoes in the washing machine to get rid of germs.
For more information on having cleaner, toxin and germ-free homes visit the city's website HERE.