A microbiologist hired by "GMA" found evidence of feces, vaginal secretions and even diarrhea causing viruses when it took cultures from so-called brand new clothes at popular high- and low-end stores in New York City. (ABC did not name the retailers.)
GMA's research was conducted for the morning show by Dr. Philip Tierno, director of microbiology at New York University. He turned up lots of dirt.
Tierno cultured 14 pieces of new clothing and found "excessive" amounts of disease causing germs and bacteria on a few pieces -- including a blouse and a jacket -- and trace amounts of some of these same offenders on other pieces. The invisible threats turned up in some surprising places -- fecal material in the offending blouse and jacket for example.
"In a sense you are touching someone else's armpit or groin" when you visit the dressing room, Tierno explained.
Skeeved out yet? We are.
The report suggests that the contaminants were deposited in changing rooms and on returned items.
The good news? Tierno says most of us are unlikely to get sick from trying on a new outfit or buying a sale item which several other customers have previously tried on.
However, the researcher warned consumers to take precautions when shopping by wearing undergarments and T-shirts. He also suggested washing new clothing in hot water or running it through a cycle in the dryer before wearing, if possible. (A great idea, unless the new clothing is dry clean only.)
Washing hands post shopping is imperative, Tierno said. Don't worry, doc, we're not going to the mall without hand sanitizer and a hazmat suit.
And don't forget about our good friend the filthy flip-flop.