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Simple Chemistry Can Solve This One

Have you seen Avatar? Even if the movie isn’t an enduring literary work, you can’t help being impressed with how beguilingly novel the 3D experience is.

But did you wonder about all the people who viewed the film before you using the same pair of 3D glasses? Did they hold the same hygienic standards you do, or were they leaving personal residues of their own humanity on the very same glasses now resting on your nose?

ABC News reports that the folks at Good Housekeeping did wonder about this. It turns out the glasses are crawling with microbial critters, some harmless, but some of the to-be-avoided variety like staphylococcus aureus (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Germs/sanitary-reusable-3d-movie-glasses/story?id=10858332).

Of course, nothing in our everyday environment is sterile or free of all germs. But the solution to reducing potentially dangerous bacteria on surfaces is readily available in the form of 70% ethyl alcohol. It’s cheap, accessible to both theater owners and individuals, and very effective. So enjoy your next 3D experience without worrying about what nastiness might reside on the glasses.

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Periodic Tabloid is an ongoing record of the activities of the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s staff and scholars, whose work tells the story of chemistry over the centuries up to modern times. Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes coverage of our events, exclusive supplemental materials to our publications, analysis of pressing contemporary scientific issues, and much more.