I work with kids... who don't always do the proper thing when they have a booger hanging from their nose or an itch in an inappropriate location. Sanitizer is my friend! Some days I wish I had a biohazard shower installed in my classroom, because honey, with all I've seen and encountered... there's just not enough Purell on the planet! Well, now thanks to a recent study by Johns Hopkins Children's Center, it seems that I might just have to join a 12 step program and kick my antibacterial habit. Their research looked at 860 children between the ages of 6 and 18 to examine the level of antibacterial chemicals and certain preservatives in their urine versus the amount of IgE antibodies in their blood (there are higher levels of these antibodies in people with allergies). Increased levels of these chemicals correlated to an elevation of IgE antibodies. The results don't point to sanitizers as a cause for allergies, but rather that they effect our immune system. So I guess my parents were right all these years! A little dirt and a few germs may not be so bad. You can read more about this research by visiting the Food Allergy Initiative, or the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.