Let ‘Em Eat Dirt

Once five friends forward you the same article, it is time to share it with the rest of the world. This one was by the New York Times health writer, Jane Brody, and it stated, quite simply: Dirt good.

Well, it didn’t state it quite that simply. Ms. Brody works for The Times, after all. While they’ve still got a dime in the bank (and that does seem to be their current balance), they’re willing to spring for whole sentences. So what she wrote was:

 Accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating dirt is good for you. In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with ‘dirt’ spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma. [Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/health/27brod.html?_r=1&em]

Got that? Dirt may help PREVENT all the allergies and asthma we’re seeing.

Without getting into the ins and outs of bodily worms (for the record: ew), let us just say that this is great news for all us of parents more than a little suspicious of the clinical levels of cleanliness being foisted upon us.

From portable Purell to the personal, anti-bacterial placemats we’re now encouraged to tote along to restaurants — as if  Applebee’s is teeming with typhoid — a slew of kid cleanliness products have sprung up that would have seemed absurd even 15 years ago. These products start with the assumption that your child and germs should never meet.

Which is a fine assumption if your child has (God forbid) just undergone a stem cell transplant.

Otherwise, healthy children and germs and dirt have had a long and happy relationship since the beginning of time. Ms. Brody even says that that may be why babies put everything in their mouths. Not to feel it or taste it. To get a great big mouthful of germs. (And worms.)

The science seems to suggest that only by being exposed to a whole slew of bacteria does the body learn to sort out the good from the bad. When the body only gets exposed to a limited spectrum of germs, it never develops that sorting skill. As a result it overreacts – perhaps with allergies — to ANY germs it meets later on.

So when you start to think, “Do I need a shopping cart liner? Those carts seem so gross.” Or, “Gee, I better wipe off that doorknob/toy/railing/tray/fork/swing/pillow/phone/pretzel/air molecule my child is about to touch….” Think about the fact that there is a difference between the cleanliness levels required by hospitals filled with the sickest of the sick, and the levels required by your average, suck-on-the-highchair-leg baby.

Then relax and let her eat the cookie that fell on the floor. Right next to that pile of nightcrawlers.

Our friends

Our friends

— Lenore

51 Responses

  1. This one cracks me up.

    We have six kids…and I cannot tell you how many people come tromping in and out of our house every day…add school, church, and the day care at the gym, and my kids are pretty much exposed to everything there is out there…and they are fine.

    In fact, my kids are pretty much the healthiest kids we know. No allergies, no asthma, no major illnesses, and we purposefully don’t buy antibacterial anything.

    Life can be gross…make them wash their hands before they eat and call the rest good.

  2. We just came back from Disney World. Hilariously, my four year old son decided to LICK THE TRAIN at Animal Kingdom (we had previously seen sheep or goats with a salt lick). Just thought I’d share.

  3. I have a daughter (whom is 4) who will often go out to the sandbox with a spoon, and literally eat dirt. I’ve never stopped her. She says she likes it, though I can’t understand why. I joke, saying she probably has a deficiency in some mineral found in the dirt. But to tell the truth, she does have an amazing immune system. She’s NEVER been to the doctor (other than for a 2 week newborn check). Sometimes I think I should grab a spoon and join her.

    …I don’t know about the worms though…… yick!

  4. OK, I’ll admit that I had a minor freak-out when my then-9-month old dug into the litter box. Other than that, though, I’ve always been pro-dirt and highly suspicious of the antibacterial EVERYTHING that people think is so necessary. That Lysol commercial showing the BIG SCARY GERMS all over the phone and doorknobs pisses me right off.

    It’s always good to have studies to back me up.😀

  5. One of my favorite camping memories is when my now-6-year-old was 13 months old. He was just learning to walk and spent most of the weekend crawling around in the very dirty/sandy campsite. More than once that weekend, I saw him sitting in the dirt with pail and shovel playing. Only was practicing his ‘spoon’ skills by feeding himself dirt! Yup… dirt-in-poop diapers for a week after that! I knew that I probably should’ve been horrified but luckily a more experience child educator had told me a few months earlier — “You’re child WILL eat dirt. He WILL be OK. Just expect the diapers to be funky for awhile until it’s out of his system”.

    Most moms I tell that to are horrified that we ‘let’ him do that (I did try to stop, but let’s be realistic). He’s my healthiest kid and hasn’t missed a single day of school in 1.5 years!🙂

  6. The late comedian George Carlin had a routine about germs, the modern-day paranoia about them, and growing up in the 1930s and 1940s–expressing much the same sentiment. I can’t do it justice, so I won’t bother to try, but for anyone who cares to seek it out, it’s on “You Are All Diseased”, called “Fear of Germs”. Being a George Carlin routine, it is of course profanity-laced, so be warned.

    On a personal note, up until age 3 or so I lived in Port Huron, Michigan, with Lake Huron literally right across the road. Apparently I spent a lot of time on the beach, eating the sand. And oddly enough (to the germ-paranoid), I’m probably the healthiest person in my family–in 10 years at my prior place of employment, I think I used maybe 2 sick days for myself, the rest were for family members.

  7. I was going through old pictures with my grandmother the other day and there was a great one of a group of kids on the farm. All were younger than about 7, no one was wearing shoes, chickens were running everywhere (think chicken poop) and a baby was happily crawling toward the camera. Yummy!

  8. Just a quick note in defense of the shopping cart covers – I could care less about the allegedly deadly germs lurking in restaurant high chairs and grocery carts. Thing is, the cover is handy for stabilizing a smallish baby in a largish cart, especially if the cart doesn’t have a working seatbelt.

    Love the blog.

  9. My favorite Hygiene Hoax foisted upon us parents was the marketing ploy that I referred to as the Shopping Cart Condom – that cloth thing that a parent is supposed to put over the seat before their precious progeny deigns to sit in the cart.

    My kids are total germ sponges and I am quite proud about that. Heh.

  10. See! I told you Lenore!! Aside from the little tube of antibacterial I carry in my purse for those times I sense a little leakage from the chicken package I am buying, I really can’t worry about it too much. Although, I am surprised at the amount of women who leave the public restrooms WITHOUT WASHING THEIR HANDS!!! Well, now that is a problem.

  11. How heartening that Jane Brody is thinking critically again (I stopped reading her health advice years ago when I realized all the health advice she dispenses and lives by have resulted in terrible health conditions of her own). So despite her vaulted position in the “low fat coven” at the NYT, I decided her advice was hard to take seriously. Now if she would get her brain in gear and renounce the failed low fat advice she’s been spouting over years, she might get my attention again. This is a good sign though.

  12. Great Blog. I’ve been reading since the Christmas “train” incident and I love your writing. I have 5 kids and since I had the first one my grandma has always told me this, “You have to eat an ounce of dirt before you die”. This was in response to me feverishly rinsing off binkies and throwing away perfectly good cookies that had dropped on the floor. With number 5 I’m a little less freaked out. I also have very healthy kids and rarely need sick time.

    I think kids pick up more germs sitting in a classroom at school than in any ounce of dirt they might eat anyway.

  13. There have also been studies done that show that kids who live in a household with more than one pet are significantly less likely to have allergies, and that all of those hand sanitizers are contributing to the creation of super germs.

    Every time one of our kids puts something gross in his mouth, we joke about building healthy immune systems. Really, though, it is the truth.

  14. great article, as usual. Our 19 month old has been knocked around by our two big labs his entire life, and went through the stages of crawling (i.e. sweeping the dog hair with his knees) and now learning small responsibility (helping feed them by cleaning up their dog dishes…which of course, heaven forbid, their mouths and saliva touched!) and he has only ever been sick once…when my husband’s office all came down with the flu!

  15. Other thoughts – kids who get dirty usually spend more time outside (hopefully in nature). Time outside increases the possibility of creating more Vit D in the skin in response to sun exposure (though Vit D levels are decreasing overall due to skin cancer and skin damage worries and higher rates of high SPF sunscreen use, not to mention increased indoor lifestyles.

    Vit D is a pre-hormone that forms from UV sun exposure and circulating cholesterol in the skin and is a very important component in a robust immune system, as well as healthy bone and dental formation and mineralization. More Vit D = better defense to illness and disease.

    It’s quite common for both adults and kids to be Vit D deficient these days, despite the synthetic D2 added to milk, especially in the winter when very few people have enough sunshine exposure to make adequate Vit D. Between fewer kids eating the few foods that can provide Vit D in an absorbable form, not getting enough Vit D stored up in summer to last the winter months, lack of Vit D could also go hand in hand with the “dirt” hypothesis. Get dirty dirty outside!

    Even in “sunny” So Cal were I live, almost everyone I know who has tested their Vit D levels (the test is 25 (OH)D) is either really low or very deficient in Vit D (& often has health conditions associated with low Vit D, such as cancer, bone disease or back problems, lack of dental enamel, CVD, etc.), unless they make an effort to supplement with adequate D3 (doses needed to raise Vit D to healthy levels are much higher than the RDA, btw). My sister and her two teenage girls in upstate NY were just tested and found very, very deficient (high SPF usage, nonfat milk, etc.). Their doctors were shocked because “they drink [synthetic Vit D2] fortified milk and take a multi-vit” (with a piddly amount of D2).

    I’ve been paying attention to Vit D issues for a few years now, after many years of scrupulously avoiding the sun after removal of a basal cell skin cancer 10 years ago. But the complete lack of sun wasn’t such a good idea, either. Our family is now participating in a study of health data and vit D levels conducted by D*Action, http://www.grassrootshealth.org, organized by the non-profit Vitamin D Council ( a collection of research scientists). Since getting our vitamin D levels up the last few years, we haven’t had colds or flu and our overall health is much better, despite a lot of exposure to colds and flu (we don’t get flu shots anymore either).

    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org for more info on Vit D.

  16. Our mantra for children: Dirt is minerals; bugs are protein.

  17. When my daughter was about five, we were at the movie theater and she got down from the seat and stooped to pick something up from the floor. I moved as quickly as I could to retreive her, but before I could pick her up, she stood up chewing a huge wad of bubble gum that she found on the floor. Needless to say, I was horrified, and watched her closely for many days looking for any sign of a major infection, but nothing ever developed – she was perfectly fine. Good lesson for me and I have remembered it. I always made my children wash their hands when they arrived back home from anywhere, but I have always been an advocate that dirt is a part of life and healthy, normal kids will usually eat a fair amount in one form or another. I have always been a proponent of believing that it is necessay for good health to expose young healthy bodies to what is out there in small quantities so the immune system can do it’s job, and it will.

  18. The thing I love about this blog is it allows me to accumulate ammunition for fights with my spouse, years before we’re ready to have kids.

    Cheers!

  19. In Spain doctors started warning us years ao about how dirt-free homes were causing alarming increases of children allergic to almost everything. In fact, they conducted several studies and concluded that children with the healthiest immune systems, and, surprisingly, with least allergies to different sorts of foods, were gypsies and the youngest in big families (who, like mine, start munching their brothers´ chocolate-chip cookies before they even stop breast feeding).
    What doesn´t kill you…

  20. As a confirmed believer of the “pick the pacifier off the floor and stick it back in your kid’s mouth” rule, it’s great to get some validation.

    Not one of my four kids has any allergies, by the way.

  21. You make quite a leap from living a healthy life exposed to natural bacteria and other organisms from dirt to letting kids suck on shopping cart handles. Researchers have found them to be higher in bacteria and viruses than anything else tested, including every surface in public bathrooms. Do you encourage your children not to wash their hands after they use the bathroom? They’re cleaner than after touching a shopping cart. There’s nothing natural about a plastic surface that has been touched by dozens of hands, including those that have handled raw meat, pesticide-laden vegetables, and God knows what else. People should use common sense. Comparing a shopping cart handle to dirt is ill-informed, misleading, and inaccurate.

  22. Jennifer, with all due respect, you are missing the point. Yes, things that you touch in the world contain germs and viruses. Exposure to these is necessary to build healthy immune systems. My extremely laid back pediatrician put it best: make they wash their hands after the toilet and before eating, but otherwise don’t worry about it.

    And honestly, my kids have come in from outside and dived into lunch with mud, dirt, and God alone knows what else on their hands before I could intercept them, and they lived. I have kids who have chewed on subway handholds (ick), and have never seen a shopping cart cover. No allergies, and the one kid with minor asthma issues has had them less and less the more time he spends at school and in the dirt.

  23. The flip side to this is making sure our children are healthy and robust enough to fight off the nasties they will inevitably encounter in the business of going about life. For more than a century there have been massive changes in the food supply and healthcare practices that are seriously impacting young immune systems. Sure there is progress on many illness and disease fronts, but we are also experiencing rising rates of auto-immune diseases and conditions like allergies, asthma, as well as cancers, and metabolic disorders.

    Gut bacteria are an integral part of the immune system (remember, the gut is a constant and significant portal for “foreign” and potentially toxic invaders and our body invests a LOT of its immune capital in the gut), but the modern industrial diet is so sterile and shelf-stable, it doesn’t support the “internal garden” very well anymore. It isn’t that our kids should be sucking grocery cart handles (I agree, yuck) to buck up their immune systems, but they should be consuming plenty of naturally probiotic bacteria from the earliest stages, because the several pounds of gut bacteria (that makes up our body weight and outnumbers our own cells about 10 to 1) on which we rely for good health, digestion, and robust immune function need to be nurtured if our immune system is to function properly. In other words, it isn’t just our innate and adaptive immune systems at work, our little “gut guests” fight for us, too. We can’t live a normal life without them.

    Our guts are inoculated with beneficial bacteria from our earliest moments in life outside the womb – during the birth process (from the mother’s birth canal), from the skin while breastfeeding, while exploring our surroundings with our mouth as babies, and from our food, etc. We need abundant populations of these beneficial bacteria both for proper digestion, but also because these probiotic bacteria can ward off pathogenic assaults. One can sterilize everything until the cows come home, but the reality is we live in a world of bacteria, and they live around and in us – beneficial, benign, and pathogenic, so we need to understand how to best co-exist and even nurture those which benefit us. The “bacteria is bad” mindset has not served us well.

    Manufacturers of probiotic “nutraceutical” foods are happy to exploit the growing awareness that our ” inner gardens” are crying out for attention (with lots of unnecessary sugars, additives, and at a steep price), but in years past (prior to industrial food), life and the pre-industrial food supply largely kept up a ready supply of beneficial bacteria with lacto-fermentation used in traditional preparation and preservation of foods. Lacto-fermentation is part of every traditional food culture, whether in dairy, meat preservation, grain leavening, or vegetables and fruits, but simple culturing of food is quickly becoming a lost art (beginning back in the Civil War era with the development of canning). Examples are traditional pickled foods (with naturally occurring lactobacillus found on fresh vegetables, not pickled with vinegar) like sauerkraut, relishes and condiments (ketchup and mustard used to be fermented foods), kimchee; cured meats; cultured dairy such as butter, buttermilk, sour creams, cheese and yogurt; fermented legumes like tamari, miso, tempeh, natto; beer, wine, and vinegar, of course; and and sour-leavened grains, from wild yeasts in the air.

    The modern industrial food supply, with its industrial shortcuts, excessive processing, and sterilization (well, sterile except when it is contaminated with pathogens like E. Coli 0157:H7 or salmonella, then distributed far and wide) does not support good gut bacterial “gardens”, which in turn does not support healthy and robust immune function. Instead, the gut finds itself continually encountering strange “foreign” food proteins (denatured from processing or not genetically adapted to) and hostile bacteria and becomes confused as to when or what to attack or when to stand down. And if the inner garden is “weedy” with the wrong bacterial balance and untended by our internal “protective bacteria soldiers”, then the pathogens quickly overwhelm our defenses. So we are too often living with systems that don’t defend against truly pathogenic contaminates very well, as well as a system that is constantly on alert and over stimulated, confused about what to fight, and instead, turns on the body itself (auto-immune).

    Like someone said earlier, dirt is mineral, so perhaps dirt itself isn’t really the issue. Perhaps the issue is whether we are supplying our kids with enough of the probiotic bacteria they need in order to fend off the bacteria that doesn’t do them any good and indeed, can do them great harm. Playing in the dirt, teeming with lacto-bacillus bacteria, is perhaps one way. Or not mowing down all the bacteria with disinfectants, creating an environmental vacuum ready to be filled by an opportunistic pathogen colony. Bacterial competition is good.

  24. A wonderful, wise woman (mother & grandmother) who I know & admire, has a roping arena where her family practices and holds clinics for youth riders every spring. She feeds these crews with pot luck lunches during the clinics. She never tells the kids to wash up before lunch after they put up their horses & ropes. She has felt for years that this practice does help build up their immunity. Her kids have always been tough & healthy. It stands to reason that this practice should be considered good, barring maybe chunks of manure clinging to them.

  25. I live in the city. While in general, I agree 100% about letting kids get dirty and germy, all the green around here is filled with pesticides.

    Which begs the question: Where can I find some pesticide-free dirt for my kids to munch on?

  26. I would just have to say that even the hospital isn’t as clean as some moms do…
    Believe me.

  27. Lenore, I do believe you just gave me an excuse not to clean my house ever again.

    Love this blog.

  28. Wow, Anna… How can it be that my grandmother and my mother taught me all that without having the slightest idea of what “lactobacillus”, “probiotic”, or even “auto immune” meant?
    They just said someting like “no, you won´t have that chocolate-filled junk. Take your salami sandwich, it´s good for you”.

  29. My mother-in-law always says, “You’ll probably eat a peck of dirt before you die” – meaning, relax about Cheerios from the floor or toys in the mouth. It’s interesting that her adage is actually science in disguise!

    Lenore, thanks very much for your blog – I love it and it has helped me be better mom.

  30. Lola,

    Now that I’ve learned how to make some of these foods in my own kitchen (fresh cheese and cultured dairy foods, sauerkraut/cultured vegetables, mustard, bone broth, etc.) I wonder if the average “village idiot” from previous generations didn’t know more about how to eat nourishing food than today’s hyper-educated masses who are helpless in the kitchen without the assistance of Betty Crocker, Lean Cuisine, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, or franchised take-out . 😉

  31. I love the blog about eating dirt.

    Does anyone remember “Invaders from
    Mar’s”?

    They died from germs.

  32. When my daughter’s pacifier falls on the floor, ground etc., she usually gets to it before I do and she pops it right back into her mouth. If I do pick it up before she does, it gets wiped off on my pants leg (double the germs!) and stuck back into her mouth! I really believe we are too clean and our kids are paying for it. I say: Let them eat Dirt!🙂

  33. Add this to the long list of reasons an antibacterial product is not allowed to cross my threshhold (do you know how hard it is to find soap that’s NOT marketed like this! ack!) and why my kids are so healthy. I’ve never sterilized a bottle, pacifier, or thumb in my life. What a major waste of a parent’s time to try to keep their child germ free when germs are SO GOOD for you. I have better things to do – like shop for non-antibacterial hand soaps!

  34. […] https://freerangekids.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/let-em-eat-dirt/  Accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating dirt is good for you. In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with ‘dirt’ spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma. [Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/health/27brod.html?_r=1&em%5D […]

  35. Very Interesting comments.I personally raised three wonderful healthy children in the country. I was VERY OCD when they were smaller.Then I realized I was driving myself crazy for no good reason.
    I am not sure I would actually let them eat dirt..BUT they were around every farm animal you can think of.
    There are more dangerous germs in you’re local Doctors office than on my dogs.

  36. We’re not too concerned about dirt and germs at our house…I tend to think it’s good for us. My theory is the more the better. And along the eating dirt note, when I was a kid (maybe 4 or 5) I knew that: 1) There were minerals in dirt; 2) I needed minerals; therefore 3) I should eat dirt. I obviously lived to tell about it. And there was probably cow manure in that dirt. Egads! So now we’re establishing a farm so my kids can do the same.

  37. My mom was obsessive about cleanliness ( and still is). I had severe asthma till the day I moved into my own apartment, with no time to clean like she did, and uh, no vaccuum for 6 months.

    Coincidentally, my asthma got better. It flew in the face of the hyper-sterile room the doctors told her I needed.

    Now, I’m into to my biology degree. Messy, dirty, bugs and fun.

    My mom has since apologized, she feels bad but I agree, the obsessive attention on antibacterial this and antiviral wipes and soaps? Needless. Just be smart, be reasonable, and let your body do what it’s supposed to do. There’s a great deal of defense our own selves have against every microbial invader.

    We only use antiviral spray in the lab for specific culturing and experiments, otherwise it’s good ol garden variety handsoap.

  38. When my daughter’s pacifier gets dropped on the floor, I tend to clean it off with my own spit.

  39. LOVED this post. I’m glad there’s some science to support my laissez-faire attitude towards germs..it KILLS my husband that I’m less than hygenic in the kitchen…will totally eat a blueberry off the floor..and quick, before the dog gets it! I don’t wipe stuff off…I’m sure I need to encourage my daughter to wash her hands more often wih out non-anti-bacterial soap that smells of Nag Champa 🙂

  40. This is a relief to me because the cleanliness of my apartment is questionable to say the least. My baby always ends up with some hair or dust in his mouth. He mouths everything, and I just can’t get riled up about it. The only time I panicked was when he put a used bandaid in his mouth at the mall play area, and yesterday he ate something I couldn’t identify, I retrieved it from his mouth and it didn’t taste like anything to me, my husband tasted it and said it was a piece of deodorant. I only put an emphasis on the bathrooms, I never worried about the kitchen as much as I felt I should. My baby’s bottle haven’t been sterilized in 6 months.

  41. My daughter ate a lot of dirt when she was younger. She had quite a lot one day while playing in a pile of dirt we had had delivered for our garden. That evening she made some real “dirt” y dippers!

    She rarely gets sick though.

    I’ve also heard that kids who eat dirt might be missing some nutrition that they are able to get from dirt.

    http://qualitybabycarseats.com/britax-car-seats/britax-companion

  42. There is a lot of research out there that shows that kids that get dirty are less likely to get sick. Large scale research in Brazil has shown that kids that get Hep A do not go on to get hay fever or asthma (not suggesting we all run out and get hep. but there is good info here). I know that the years I got flu shots were my worst allergy years, by a factor of 10.
    Let ’em get dirty. Dirty kids are happy kids (think beach or mud pit)

  43. I regularly get strange looks and questions when I leave my children at summer day camp and tell them to, “Have fun! Get dirty!” A clean kid is not a happy kid in my experience.

  44. […] Dirty World! Let’em Eat Dirt!  […]

  45. Your post made me think of this european commercial I just LOVE for a laundry soap they have there.

  46. I remember bringing my maybe 10 month old daughter in from a walk in the stroller. I parked the stroller in the entry way, took the baby out, went to the kitchen, came back to find she had dog poop smeared across her mouth, picked up from the wheel of the stroller. Yuck! She survived though, after a wipe from the washcloth and a drink of water.

    My neighbor is a pediatrician who did a lot of work in rural areas of African countries. He says he saw few instances of asthma or respiratory illnesses there, where people typically share living space with their livestock.

    Worms? I know they’re there (here?) but I don’t want to think about it!

  47. […] Definitely carrots. Mmm, garden-fresh carrots. I have fond memories of eating them straight from my childhood friend’s parents’ garden. Actually, that seems disgusting in hindsight – but ah well, a little dirt’s good for the immune system, right? […]

  48. I just wanted to say that using the excuse that your parents let you do things doesn’t work when the diseases nowdays are not o ly different but deadly also!

    I recently watched a man pee in a bush at a grocery store, wipe off his part with his hand and proceed to just grab a cart and shop! I was floored! Imagine if he had an infectious disease and your child was next in the cart!

    It’s not about paranoia it’s about protecting our children from new and devestating diseases. It’s about being parents. We can’t be perfect but letting the chips fall where they may is absurd when it comes to your kids!!!! If something were to happen to your kids that your could have prevented you would never forgive yourselves!

  49. http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-x-n-health-dirt-20100324,0,6756958.story
    NIU study says playing in / eating dirt builds immune system.

  50. Hi there! Im at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!

  51. After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you can remove me from that service? Kudos!

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