Gilmore College students got a frightening look at the bacteria on their skin yesterday with the aid of a lotion that glows under ultraviolet light when germs are present.
The experiment, in which students wash their hands then use the cream to find out how much bacteria they missed, is part of a new Scitech program to teach youngsters about the science behind a healthy lifestyle.
Scitech CSIRO laboratory manager Claire Pannell said students were always surprised to see the bacteria left behind even after they had washed their hands.
"Even if you washed your hands thoroughly, there'll still be something under your nails, or if you have a ring on," she said. "Even a little cut is quite hard to clean."
The Healthy Bodies program includes a "decibel dummy" where students plug in their iPods to see the hearing damage caused by a range of volume settings and a station to test the salt, sugar and acidity of cola.
"It's a program designed to equip young people by finding out for themselves about lifestyle choices," Dr Pannell said.
"We're not there to preach to them to tell them what to do."
Dr Pannell said the program was aimed at students in Years 7-9, an age when they started to make their own choices.Healthy Bodies will visit Perth's outer suburbs and towns with BHP Billiton operations such as Wiluna and Newman.
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