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Why Guy: Why aren't grocery store employees wearing masks and gloves?

And if you're going to use something other than toilet paper, make sure its flushable before sending it down the drain.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today's Why Guy question comes in from Josette Levasseur, who wrote:

"Dear Mr. Why Guy, have you noticed how all the employees in the grocery stores and other types of stores are not wearing masks and gloves? I wonder why not? One more question. Can Kleenex be used in place of toilet paper?"

Let me start with Kleenex, or facial tissue in general. With many stores out of toilet paper, you may be resorting to other wipe-ables products. If you want to use Kleenex, go for it. But do not flush Kleenex down the toilet!

"Facial tissues might seem safe to flush because they look so much like toilet paper," Cynthia Finley, Director of Regulatory Affairs at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, said. "But unlike toilet paper, facial tissues have been treated with a chemical binder that takes time to release and break apart when flushed. Your toilet is not a garbage can."

The other question is about grocery store employees not wearing masks and gloves. Medical experts say you don't need a mask unless you have the virus. As for gloves, they don't prevent you from touching your mouth and nose where the virus gets in. A story in the New York Times on March 20th about what workers in grocery stores are dealing with revealed their angst.

"Workers at a number of retailers say they are being denied medical supplies like protective masks and gloves, because their employers insist the gear is unnecessary and could stoke fears among customers."  



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