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Shopping cart handles: Wipe off to avoid possible danger, or just go with it?

Shopping cart spotted in Mason City

MASON CITY – It’s been in the news the last couple of days – wipe off your shopping cart handles for safety – but is there truly a danger from treacherous substances and germs, or is life to short to worry about the wipe-down?

A least one police department warned citizens to wipe off the handles on shopping carts before using to avoid contact with the deadly drug fentanyl. The Centers for Disease Control says “exposure to fentanyl may be fatal.”

In a social media post, a police department in Arkansas advised this week of wiping off grocery cart handles with germ-killing wipes to possibly remove treacherous Fentanyl before it makes contact with your skin.

Reportedly, the police department wrote in the post that has since been removed, “All you’d have to do is rub your nose or touch your child’s mouth. Children just being exposed to the powder or residue is a bad situation that can turn deadly.”  At the same time, CBS reports that an opioid expert they talked to said it is “completely impossible” to overdose on drugs from touching a shopping cart.

The CDC says Fentanyl can be absorbed into the body via inhalation, oral exposure or ingestion, or skin contact. It is not known whether fentanyl can be absorbed systemically through the eye.

Mason City Chief of Police Jeff Brinkley tells NIT Saturday that “I am not aware of a confirmed report about fentanyl being used in this manner. Fentanyl is a powerful drug and its dangers should not be overlooked. As far as I know, fentanyl has not made its way to Mason City at this time.”

Fentanyl may not be in Mason City, but it seems to be close. Two gun-toting brothers from the small Northern Iowa town of Ossian (just 82 miles from Mason City) are accused by federal authorities of dealing heroin and the ultra-dangerous drug fentanyl.

Other germs, however, may be present on shopping cart handles.  Many folks take advantage of the germ-killing wipes normally available when they enter a store and wipe off their shopping cart before using.

How about you – do YOU feel compelled to go the wipe-down route, or just skip it?

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