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One Reason You Might Not Want Squeaky-Clean Dishes

A new study in the journal Pediatrics found a link between washing dishes by hand and a reduced risk of developing allergies in kids.

By Christina Hartman | February 23, 2015

There are plenty of reasons to love dishwashers. There’s the convenience, of course. And, well, it works. (Video via Cascade)

Then again, dishwashers might work too well. A study published in the journal “Pediatrics” suggests kids whose families wash dishes by hand are actually less likely to develop allergies.

That’s because hand washing, in general, can be less effective than machine washing. 

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The findings support what’s called the “hygiene hypothesis.”

“Which in its simplest terms states that the rise in allergy and asthma is an unintended consequence of modern hygiene,” explains Dr. Home Boushey of the University of California-San Francisco.

In other words, we’re too clean, people!

“The modern world has become so clean that it’s deprived us of contact with microorganisms that we co-evolved with, that have always been with human beings,” Dr. Charles Raison of Emory School of Medicine said in a 2010 video.

The thinking goes — kids need some exposure to bacteria to build up their immune systems. (Video via Raising Arizona Kids)

It’s a theory that’s gained a lot of traction in recent years. But it is just a theory. (Video via euronews)

And one that has its competing opinions — with researchers disagreeing about what kinds of microbes we should be exposed to.

Still — this latest study in the journal Pediatrics doesn’t get into all that. It merely found — through a questionnaire of the families of more than 1,000 children — that dishwashing by hand was linked to a lower risk of allergy development.

Take eczema, for example: 23 percent of kids of handwashing families had a history of it. That’s compared to 38 percent of kids with machine dishwashing families. You can read the full study by checking out the link in our transcript.

This video contains images from Getty Images.

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