Black Light Test Shows How Kids Spread Germs

Black light test reveals kids can still spread germs after washing their hands.

ByABC News via logo
September 5, 2009, 8:22 PM

Sept. 6, 2009— -- With many students back in school, and H1N1 flu fears on the rise, messages to kids to wash up are everywhere. From public service announcements featuring "Sesame Street's" loveable Elmo, to Pennsylvania Avenue, where President Obama himself recently pushed personal hygiene.

"We need everyone to take the common-sense steps that we know can make a difference. Stay home if you're sick. Wash your hands frequently," Obama said on Sept. 1, from the Rose Garden.

But are kids listening? "Good Morning America Weekend" headed to Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Elementary School to find out. The team arrived with an experiment for David Gregal's fifth-grade class.

The students were asked to coat their hands in a clear lotion that can only be seen under a black light. The experiment was to see how much of it would be left on their hands by the end of the day -- less lotion would mean cleaner hands.

The kids applied the lotion and immediately commented on the smell. Some liked it, and some didn't.

We followed them throughout the day, into their reading, math and science classes, then to recess and lunch. We observed as they touched everything -- from book and pencils, banisters, sports equipment, and of course, each other and their own bodies.

Some washed their hands, and others used hand sanitizer. But did they cleanse well enough? At the end of the school day, it was time to test.