Grocery store employees across the country and in Washington state are dealing with a massive littering problem as people leave their disposable gloves behind in parking lots.
A professor with the University of Washington's School of Public Health said wearing gloves to the grocery store is not necessary to keep people from getting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
"If you don't take your gloves off properly you can actually contaminate yourself in the process. The likelihood of you acquiring COVID-19 from going to the grocery store is very minimal," said Dr. Marilyn Roberts. "It can actually be more of a hazard, and there are other kinds of infections out there that you might pick up inadvertently by mishandling gloves."
Instead, she suggested people bring an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to the store and wash their hands with soap and water when they get home.
Roberts said gloves left behind will do more harm to the environment than the employees tasked with picking them up.
"They don't break down in the environment, and so you have the problem of it getting washed into the water systems, wild animals picking them up on occasion [and] small children picking them up," said Roberts.