Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Things that are dirtier than a toilet seat

Feeling icky? Here you go.

While 80 percent of infections come from what we touch, we rarely clean these ordinary items as often as our porcelain thrones.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found fecal matter on one out of every six smartphones in a 2011 study. Add to that the work of Charles Gerba, a famed University of Arizona microbiologist who found cell phones carry 10 times the bacteria of most toilet seats.

“If an alien came from space and studied the bacterial counts, he probably would conclude he should wash his hands in your toilet and crap in your sink,” Gerba said in a university profile. Kitchen sinks carry more bacteria than both toilets and garbage cans, his work shows.

Even worse is the damp kitchen sponge nearby, which Gerba found can be 200,000 times dirtier than your toilet. Hit your sink with hot, soapy water and wipe it daily with disinfecting wipes, he says, and put sponges in the microwave for a minute while wet to sanitize them.

One Gerba study found that 97 percent of shoppers had never cleaned their reusable bags, creating a breeding ground for potentially deadly bacteria. Randomly tested bags from shoppers contained bacteria levels high enough to cause a slew of serious health problems, including food-borne illnesses that leave children especially vulnerable. A thorough washing of the bags, though, killed virtually all the built-up bacteria, the study found.

It’s not just cell phones that never get cleaned, Gerba’s work shows, but also similarly fumbled items such as TV remotes. Both may be crawling with germs, but it’s the latter that could prove more dangerous because it’s more likely to be shared.

Well, this is just disgusting.

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