Saturday, September 8, 2012

Five common objects dirtier than a toilet seat

The household toilet seat may be widely considered a bacterial breeding ground but there are many other seemingly benign everyday objects that are far dirtier and pose a greater health risk.
Last week scientists at the University of Arizona found that mobile phones had more germs on them than toilet seats, because phones regularly come into close contact with users' hands and mouths and are rarely cleaned. But that’s not the only filthy thing you might have your hands on right now — here are a few more reasons to avoid touching anything.
Cash and credit cards
Obvious one here — the wads of cash in your wallet carry more germs than the average toilet seat, with some harboring E coli.
Dr Ron Cutler, senior lecturer at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London, analysed 200 bank notes and 45 credit cards and discovered that 26 percent of the notes and 47 percent of the cards had high levels of bacteria. "We all handle money and credit cards on a daily basis but it is unlikely that we wash our hands directly afterwards. Good hand hygiene at all times can help prevent the spread of infection," Dr Cutler said.
Cutting boards

A dirty chopping board. (Getty)
A number of bacteria hotspots are found in kitchens or anywhere that food is prepared, according to Associate Professor David Gordon of the Australian National University's Research School of Biology.
"Plastic cutting boards are another common breeding ground for bacteria," he told ninemsn.
Assoc Professor Gordon said wood cutting boards were perceived to be better than plastic because they are made from a natural product but both were usually rife with germs.
"They are hard to clean because they tend to be scoured by knife cuts and they make good places for bacteria to be lodged," he said.

A filthy sponge in action. (Getty)
Sponges are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria as they offer the perfect conditions for germs to multiply.
"A lot of things that live in a gut or host need a moist environment to survive. Dry things are low risk," Assoc. Professor Gordon said.
"Things like sponges, in terms of levels of contamination, are likely to have bacteria that potentially could cause disease in people.
"You get things like E coli and salmonella in them."
He said tea towels pose a similar risk but sponges were a greater threat because they were usually moist.
Keyboards and steering wheels

A heavily thrashed keyboard and mouse. (Getty)
Car steering wheels and computer keyboards are objects that are handled a number of times a day, possibly by more than one person and are rarely cleaned.
Sometimes the dirt that builds up on them can be visible but before it gets to that stage there is already a hive of microbial activity unfolding.
A study undertaken by Queen Mary University found 700 harmful bacteria per square inch on the average steering wheel, compare to 80 found on the average toilet.
"They contain bacteria but whether you can get something from them that poses a health risk is unlikely," Assoc. Professor Gordon said.
"They are usually a fairly non porous surface that dries out and the bacteria that live there may be things we have on our skin naturally anyway.
Bathroom mats 
A bacterial breeding ground. (Getty)
Lisa from The Simpsons once said that her mother's heart "won't just wipe clean like this bathroom countertop: it absorbs everything that touches it, like this bathroom rug."
Bathroom mats are a common bacterial breeding ground absorbing a number of harmful germs including fecal matter.
Fortunately most people, except perhaps small children, are unlikely to come into dangerous contact with them.
"There may be bacteria living there but they probably don’t come into contact with anybody," Assoc. Professor Gordon said.
Source: Associate Professor David Gordon, Queen Mary University, University of ArizonaAuthor: Martin Zavan. Approving editor: Henri Paget. |  13:00 AEST Wed Sep 5 2012Web:

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