November 19, 2013
Can A Library Book Give You Herpes?
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Fifty Shades of Grey may seem like a harmless read, but a toxicologist found that if you are planning on picking up a copy from your local library then you may want to consider wearing protection.
The erotic novel known for pushing boundaries has now been shown to bring to life the consequences of such a risqué life. Jan Tytgat from the Catholic University of Leuven tested a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey at a local library and found that the book was riddled with cocaine and herpes.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a trilogy of books written by British writer E.L James. Over 70 million copies of the book have been sold around the world since it was first launched two years ago. The book details a love affair between a publishing graduate and a company CEO, and a number of scenes are considered highly erotic and involve sadomasochist acts that some readers find offensive. While the book has proven to be controversial, it has topped best-seller lists around the world.
Tytgat told Flanders News that colleague Stijn Van de Voorde was looking for researchers with his program to do something that has never been done before. Voorde asked two university professors to look into the ten most borrowed books at the Antwerp lending library and see what secrets they hold beneath the text.
The experts said that all ten books that were part of the study, including Dimitri Verhulst's Flemish bestseller "De helaasheid der dingen and Jommeke" comic strips, tested positive for cocaine.
"The levels found won't have a pharmacological effect. Your consciousness or behavior won't change as a result of reading the tomes,” Tytgat told Flanders News. However, he did say the levels were high enough so that people who had read the books could test positive for cocaine afterwards.
"Today's testing methods are so sensitive that traces of the drug originating from a contaminated book will be found in your hair, blood and urine,” the researcher said.
The team found that Fifty Shades of Grey and Pieter Aspe's Tango showed traces of the herpes simplex virus type 1 as well. This strain of virus is known to cause cold sores.
Although the mere idea of a book containing the herpes virus is a bit to handle, the experts in both bacteriology and toxicology said it did not pose a public health risk and that it would be impossible for people to contract it by touching the book.
Fifty Shades of Grey is currently being adapted into a film directed by Sam Taylor-Wood. It is set to be released in February 2015, starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.