7 On Your Side:Dirty Purses - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

2/26/07-Tyler

7 On Your Side:Dirty Purses

If you're like any red-blooded woman, your purse is like your shadow.

"Oh gosh it's my best friend! I take it everywhere with me!," says Kara Welda clutching her purse.

Triciana Porter adds, "It feels like it's another accessorie. I get up in the morning, I put on my earrings and grab my purse."

And no matter the size or shape, we've got it down to a science what can fit in there.

"You got your money, your keys, your lipstick," says Carlotta Butler.

"Hairspray, makeup bag, money," says Jessica Joyner. Her friend Rebecca Lane adds, "Change of clothes."  The women then burst in laughter.

But think of all the places you set your purse on a daily basis. From the floor of your car, to the one at work, on a public bench or counter in a store.

"Yeah you think if you go into a restaurant a lot times it winds up on the floor," says Kara.

"You're at the movies it's on the floor. It's on the floor, I never thought of it!," says Carlotta.

And what about when you use a public restroom.

"I hang it on the coat hook. [If there's no hook] I'll set it on top of the toilet paper holder," says Jessica.

"All bathrooms are dirty, especially public bathrooms," says Gayle Bennett.

There are some who get creative to keep it off the bathroom floor.

"I was watching Oprah and she said if you're in a stall to put it on your head," says Triciana.

"Noooo! I'm not doing that! I'm not doing that!," says Jennifer Barnes.

Other women admitted they're sometimes left with no choice.

Their little holder thing on the door was broken off so I had no where else to put it so I put it on the floor," says Coolina Gallegly.

"I try to hang it on the knob if there is one on the back of the door but there's not always," says Jennifer.

It does makes you think, what is lurking at the bottom of our purses??

Because no one sees it anyway it's the part we usually don't care about but our 7 On Your Side investigation may change all that.

We asked some East Texas women to let us test their purses to see what we find.

We swabbed the parts of the purses that have been exposed to the floor at one point or another.

For some, the reality of what could be there starting setting in.

"I don't know if i want to know! I might throw the purse away now" says Coolina laughing.

Our culture swabs were then to taken to UT Health Center at Tyler's Microbiology Lab, where in a matter of days we'll find out what kind of bacteria live on these purses.

We did learn of one kind of bacteria microbiologists hope they don't find called gram negative rods.

"They are contained in your fecal flora and your gut. But there are other gram negative rods that can be very harmful like salmonella, shigella, ecoli 157 as you probably know it's a gram negative rod," says UTHCT Microbiologist Angie Lanphier.

That kind of bacteria can make people very sick. The big question now: What exactly did the test results reveal?

We've already shared them with the women we interviewed and it was a shocker and eye-opener. It could change the way you handle your purse.

You can see part two of this special report Tuesday night on KLTV 7 news at 10.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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