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City Finds 'Treasure' Beneath Toxic Dirt

New Yorkers are excited about soil discovery

(Newser) - New York City is hiding a healthy little secret: its dirt. Beneath a layer of toxic topsoil, New Yorkers are finding clean sediments and using them in ways apparently unmatched by any city, the New York Times reports. A non-profit "soil exchange" run by the mayor's office is... More »

This Is the Dirtiest Spot on an Airplane

Surprise: It's the tray table

(Newser) - If you avoid airplane bathrooms for fear of germs, it's time to rethink your strategy. Travelmath sent a microbiologist to swipe airplanes and airports to find the dirtiest spots and the results are as surprising as they are gross. The ickiest spot on a plane is actually a seat'... More »

Mankind's Blind Spot: We're Ruining Our Soil

George Monbiot: If we don't stop, we can't survive

(Newser) - If you took a poll to find out the biggest threat to the survival of mankind, it's doubtful that "soil" would be on the list. But at the Guardian , George Monbiot argues that the speed at which it's being degraded around the world makes all our other... More »

Scientists Surprised by Central Park Dirt

It has as much biodiversity as soils 'from the Arctic to Antarctica'

(Newser) - Dirt probably isn't something you'd think of as having "so much going on," but scientist Kelly Ramirez begs to differ. She's sampled dirt from tropical forests to deserts around the world and found it "teeming with so many different types of organisms," she... More »

Why Eating Dirt Is Good for Us

Jeff Leach: We need to toughen up our immune systems again

(Newser) - We scrub away germs to ensure good health, but in the long term, our "squeaky-clean" culture may be backfiring on us. Our immune systems developed to fend off a constant threat of invading organisms, learning to distinguish helpful and harmful invaders throughout life, writes Jeff Leach in the New ... More »

For Drinkable Water, Add ... Dirt?

And maybe some salt: Scientists propose simple fix for world crisis

(Newser) - One in 6 people in the world faces a clean-water shortage, according to the United Nations—so scientists are proposing a quick fix. Dirty water can be rendered drinkable using a few odd ingredients: Sun, salt, dirt, and lime, NPR reports. The sun's rays can kill the germs in... More »

There's More Dust Than There Used to Be

And there's no good way to get rid of it

(Newser) - If you feel like your house is only getting dustier, you may be right: There’s more dust in the world now than there once was, a study finds. In fact, the amount of airborne dust doubled in the 20th century. Where's it all coming from? There are a few... More »

Keyboards 'Dirtier Than Toilet Seats'

Microbiologist warns that filthy keys can make people ill

(Newser) - A microbiologist studying computer keyboards discovered that some of them harbored more bacteria than the average toilet seat, the Guardian reports. The dirtiest—which had to be removed from an office—had 150 times the level of acceptable bacteria, putting the user at risk of catching bugs that cause diarrhea... More »

Not So Bad for Dirt-Eaters to Dig In: Study

Research finds unusual diet may rid body of toxins

(Newser) - New research is giving new meaning to the term Mother Earth: Scientists say loam in the soil may provide vital protection against poisonous agents in the body. People around the world, especially pregnant women, have eaten dirt for hundreds of years. Now researchers have found that earth not only provides... More »

9 Stories