Dirt can make you happy, healthy and intelligent.
I now look at dirt in a whole new way. If you care for children, and they come in dirty, with bruises, scratches, torn clothes and twigs in the hair, they are probably happier, intelligent and healthier for it.
In Britain the city dweller knows they are in the countryside when they smell the “country air”, the smell of the farm, manure; a smell that has an effect better than Prozac for a short time after you smell it. The reason is Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria which lives in manure, your compost, or in the soil.
Mycobacterium vaccae has these amazing properties:
Humanity need dirt to be healthy. Our immune system needs access to good bacteria like Mycobacterium vaccae to be healthy. Children getting dirty gains ready access to all this bacteria that helps for a healthier body. Being too clean in the home, and over-zealous about being clean is doing nobody any favours; the modern obsession with clean means good bacteria are killed and denied access to us.
There is a boom in people with food allergies and eczema. There is also a boom in super-bugs in hospitals like the flesh-eating bug MRSA. The answer could be more dirt and less clean to combat all these conditions.
Dirt is good. Want to be happy, intelligent and healthier? Go and get dirty.