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1 in 6 U.K. Phones Contaminated with Fecal Bacteria

The best thing, and maybe the worst thing, about cellphones is that you can bring them anywhere. Gone are the days of being attached to the wall, the days of phones that can only be used to talk to people, and the days of not having Internet access in the bathroom. Well, that last one may have its downsides. According to a recent study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, 92% of the phones studied had bacteria all over them and 16% had E. Coli, everyone’s favorite bacteria of fecal origin.

The study didn’t just involve going around testing phones for bacteria, although that was part of it. In addition to testing the phones, the researchers gave the phones owners’ an opportunity to self-report their hygiene habits. Spoiler alert: Some of them were big, fat liars.

95% of the surveyed participants claimed to wash their hands properly with soap and water. Considering almost the same amount of phones had bacteria and 82% of hands did, either some of them are lying or they’re not washing their hands properly. Of course, considering that fecal bacteria can survive on surfaces for hours, especially at warmer temperatures, and can be transferred fairly easily from doorknobs and other places of repeated physical contact, it’s possible all of the  participants were just victims of circumstance. But I’m willing to bet some of them were lying.

Either way, it’s concerning that such a high instance of fecal bacteria is occuring on something we routinely hold up to our faces. Granted, this study was only in the U.K., but things probably aren’t wildly different anywhere else. Despite the gross-out factor of the actual numbers, it’s probably not the end of the world considering that pretty much everyone has a phone and pretty much everyone isn’t dying from E. Coli related illnesses. Still, it’s gross. You put that thing on your face. I think this might finally get me to work phone-cleaning into my schedule.

(via Medical Xpress, pic via The Oatmeal)

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