Study: Cell phones dirtier than toilet seats

Toilet seat or phone? Might seem like a silly question but, then again, the answer might just suprise you!

According to research carried out by Dr Charles Gerba of University of Arizona in 2002 the average office phone carries over 25,000 germs per square inch whereas the toilet seat carries a mere 49! Even an office desk carries over 20,000 germs per square inch which is nearly 45 times more than the loo seat! Scary!

Below are the main results from the study –

Phone: 25,127 germs per square inch
Desktop surface: 20,961 germs per square inch
Keyboard: 3,295 germs per square inch
Mouse: 1,676 germs per square inch
Fax machine: 301 germs per square inch
Photocopier: 69 germs per square inch
Toilet seat: 49 germs per square inch

According to a study done at the University of Arizona, it is very likely your cell phone harbors more germs than a toilet seat.

Headed by Microbiologist Charles Gerba, the studies found that cell phones are the most germ-infested items people come in contact with on a regular basis-followed by desktops, water fountain handles, microwave door handles, and keyboards/mice. The average cell phone has over 25 thousand germs per square inch, as opposed to the average toilet seat with a mere 49.

The study said college students are at a greater risk to spread diseases because of their environments. A classroom desk was found to support the capacity of 10 million microorganisms at any given time, potentially resulting in a 72-hour cold or flu bug.

In a university environment, the time spent hovered over desks and computers-all of which eventually touch cell phones-makes cell phones a bacterial breeding ground. However, hypochondriacs can rest assured: living in a world of germs may not be as frightening as one may think. Even with all the hand-holding at BYU, Dr. Richard Robison, a professsor of microbiology and molecular biology, said germs on cell phones don’t pose much of a serious health risk. “The issue is the type of bacteria found,” Robison said.

Timpanogos Hospital Microbiologist Susan Lehnhof said cell phone germs gets ugly when people start sharing phones.

“It isn’t necessarily a problem as long as the germs all come from you,” she said.

Lehnhof claims that a possible legitimate threat would be taking cell phones to the bathroom. This year, American Standard polled Americans across the country in regards to multi-tasking in the bathroom. 88 percent use at least one electronic device in the bathroom, and 15 percent talk on the phone.

Experts recommend wiping your phone with antibacterial wipes or rubbing alcohol to clean them. Also, many phone companies have come out with proactive measures to combat the germs: anti-microbial coating on cell phones and cell phone covers.

The Center for Disease Control said the most effective precaution anyone can take to avoid becoming sick, especially during the upcoming colder months, is to wash hands frequently and correctly. That, and perhaps keeping your cell phone to yourself.

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