Eww! Cell Phone Contamination Found By Researchers in the U.K.
October 19, 2011
If you’re easily grossed out, perhaps you should stop reading this now.
Recent research by scientists in London found that one out of every six mobile phones shows evidence of fecal matter. According to TIME Magazine, researchers analyzed 780 swab samples, half from mobile phones and half from hands, in 12 cities in the UK and found that 16 percent of them were contaminated with E. coli.
How did that get there, you ask incredulously? Well, much to our chagrin, it’s from people not washing their hands after they use the bathroom. We have all watched in horror as fellow public bathroom users have simply left their stalls and walked out the door. It’s enough to make you want to bathe yourself in antibacterial liquid.
E. coli can be transmitted easily to phones, and basically anything else that the infector touches. And the bacteria likes warm conditions, which makes a mobile device a perfect resting place. Overall, researchers found that approximately 92 percent of hands and 82 percent of mobile phones had some kind of bacterial contamination present.
Although the study was conducted in the U.K., it’s hard to imagine that the U.S. is much different. The number may be even higher for parents with young kids who, say, are in the midst of changing a diaper when they receive a call they’re expecting and think they’ve wiped their hands thoroughly. And then when the parents give said phone to their toddlers who then end up chewing on the corner of it, well, that's just not good.
In a written statement, Hygiene expert Dr. Val Curtis, said: "I hope the thought of having E. coli on their hands and phones encourages them to take more care in the bathroom – washing your hands with soap is such a simple thing to do but there is no doubt it saves lives."
Dr Ron Cutler, of Queen Mary, University of London, added, “People may claim they wash their hands regularly but the science shows otherwise."
Bottom line: wash your hands, please. Pretty please.
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