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Old 02 June 2007, 09:16 PM
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Glasses Hepatitis and bottle returns

I checked the reference pages for this and didn't find it so some background. In the convenience store I work in there is a little power struggle and controversy going on. The quite intelligent guy I work with insists that we cannot have any plastic grocery bags that contained used bottles being returned for refund in the store because they spread Hepatitis. I think he means B but I'm not really sure. Meanwhile our manager has decided that the little bottle return cart we use must now contain a plastic garbage bag liner so as to be more sanitary. This tics off my over-night co-worker who insists that the liquid from the returns being in contact with the plastic is what creates the perfect environment for the spread of disease, and in this case specifically Hepatitis. Now this seems a bit counter intuitive to me because as far as I can find out health code doesn't deal with it and guess what we sort our returns into...yes you are correct...plastic lined cardboard return boxes. In addition, I've researched all the forms of Hepatitis and none seem to be spread in this fashion as far as I can tell.

He is quite furious about the whole thing. I get along great with this guy but he is very socially ummm inept. He knows no diplomacy or grace and has been working at this job for waaaayyy too long. I won't argue the point with him, but will continue to do as my manager expects. Frankly I humor him because I work with him a lot and I'd really rather get along with him then not. As I tell him, "I do it your way when you're here and my way when you're not."

So, does anyone know for sure if Hepatitis is spread this way? I'm pretty sure he's wrong on this one, but I would like someone a little more science-foo than I have to give me some input.

P&LL, Syl
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Old 02 June 2007, 09:32 PM
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They're for recycling, right -- nobody's rinsing them out and drinking out of them? So how, exactly, is someone supposed to contract hepatitis from returned plastic bottles? Is simply handling the returns supposed to spread hepatitis? Or are the returns supposedly "breeding" hepatitis that becomes airborne?

- snopes
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Old 02 June 2007, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by snopes View Post
They're for recycling, right -- nobody's rinsing them out and drinking out of them? So how, exactly, is someone supposed to contract hepatitis from returned plastic bottles? Is simply handling the returns supposed to spread hepatitis? Or are the returns supposedly "breeding" hepatitis that becomes airborne?

- snopes
You know I really don't know what the hell he's talking about. He just keeps saying, "This is so unsanitary it spreads/causes hepatitis blah blah grumble sputter..." The carbonated liquid interacting with the plastic seems to be what disturbs him from something he mumbled to me the other night. He has a very low pitched voice that seems to be the pitch I'm a little impaired at especially with all the exhaust fans and musak etc. so half the time I pretend I hear him 'cause I get sick of saying, "Pardon?" all the time. He really is a very bright guy, but is a know-it-all and pretty stubborn, and arrogant. I will not argue this with him because if I prove him wrong it will just tic him off and make life unpleasant. Most the people there hate him. I don't but I'm pretty easy going and he does his job which makes my job easier. Which is more than I can say for some of the other people that work there.

P&LL, Syl
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Old 02 June 2007, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
He just keeps saying, "This is so unsanitary it spreads/causes hepatitis blah blah grumble sputter..." The carbonated liquid interacting with the plastic seems to be what disturbs him from something he mumbled to me the other night.
Hepatitis is generally spread through contact with the feces or bodily fluids of infected persons. I can't see how that would have much to do with soda bottles and plastic liners, other than the ordinary (extremely minimal) risk of handling objects that other people may have touched or put into their mouths. Using a public restroom probably puts you at far greater risk for contracting hepatitis, and even that risk is so small as to be practically negligible.

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Old 03 June 2007, 12:21 AM
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Hep-A is mostly spread through contaminated food, while Hep-B is spread blood and body fluids and Hep-C is spread through blood. HBV and HCV can live for a time outside the body, but unless a surface has been bled or has been coated with some other body fluid, you aren't going to get it by touching something. Even then, the virus has to enter a new host through an open wound. No two pieces of plastic touching (or carbonation touching plastic) is going to cause an organism of any sort to magically appear - that's against all laws of nature.

ETA: I seem to have misunderstood. He doesn't think HBV will pop out of nowhere, but still, he definitely missed the mark on this.
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Old 03 June 2007, 01:16 AM
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Thanks for the input. That is pretty much what I thought when I was looking at causes and prevention of Hepatitis. I don't know where he got this bizarre notion, but suffice it to say that he probably won't drop it anytime soon. It just goes to show that you don't have to be "dumb" to believe something dumb/Urban Legends, just stubborn and quite convinced that you can never be wrong.

P&LL, Syl
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Old 03 June 2007, 01:50 AM
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Yes...the tale reminds me of when we has a lorryload of grapes returned by a large supermarket chain, because one of their workers had discovered a black widow spider in them.

The normal procedure under these circumstances is to gas the product - IIRC with sulphur dioxide . We had the facilities to gas the grape (two gassable stores) but no gas.

Since it would have cost money to buy the gas, the Director of Operations decided on a hand sort instead, and asked for volunteers.

He assured everyone that the Black Widow is completely harmless. I smelt the pungent aroma of bovine faeces.

With the blessing of my immediate boss I phoned the British Museum and spoke to a spider expert (arachnologist?) who told me that Black Widows are not completely harmless.

I and most of those I managed to convey that information to refused to volunteer to partipate in the sort.

Of those who did, one lady was bitten by another type of spider, which whilst not lethal, caused a large red lump to appear on her neck. She was taken to hospital. That was a fun couple of days for her and her two daughters who had been working alongside her, until she got the all clear.

The best part was that the Director of Operations had decided that the grape was to be chilled to well below it's optimum storage temperature to make any spiders less stroppy. That, combined with the lengthy sorting procedure resulted in most of the consignment rotting and becoming unsaleable indeed inedible. The company ended up losing over 80,000.
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Old 03 June 2007, 03:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylvanz View Post
The carbonated liquid interacting with the plastic seems to be what disturbs him from something he mumbled to me the other night.
Um, does he realize that carbonated drinks are sold in plastic containers? And that carbonations goes away when the drink is exposed to air?
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Old 04 June 2007, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sara@home View Post
Um, does he realize that carbonated drinks are sold in plastic containers? And that carbonations goes away when the drink is exposed to air?
Apparently not. Another example: I was talking to him last night about expiry dates on pop/soda and was telling him as far as I know regular soda, even though it has an expiry date, will stay good practically indefinitely under most normal conditions it's just diet soda that gets skunky because of the artificial sweetener. Nope if it has a date it will "go bad" he had a skunky Mountain Dew once. Now I could be wrong about this, but I have heard this in the past about non-diet soda from a reputable source. However, if I presented him with a chemist who would explain the whole thing (and assuming I'm correct) he would hotly deny it. Like I said a very stubborn guy.

P&LL, Syl
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  #10  
Old 04 June 2007, 11:54 PM
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Sugar sodas lose flavor and carbonation if they get really old, but skunky? No.

The "sell by" dates for regular soda are mostly for stock rotation.
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