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In an effort to educate the public about how to deal with bacteria-laden sponges found in most American kitchens, a research team at the University of Florida might have inadvertently sparked another problem.

The story begins innocently enough. To rid dangerous bacteria like e-coli from the scrubbers, moist and microbe-infested sponges were placed in a microwave for two minutes by a university research team. Upon completion, the sponges were examined and found to be completely sterile. The team determined that the cleaning method was a cheap and viable option for a large portion of the population to protect themselves from germs, given the prevalence of the appliance and its relative inexpensiveness. Other cleaning options, such as putting sponges in the dishwasher, failed to accomplish the same level of protection without using dangerous chemicals like bleach or chlorine.

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