Health Alert Mobile phones found to have more germs than a toilet seat - Research

Phones are just not part of our cleaning routine whereas we should think about giving them a wipe with an antibacterial substance every now and then.

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Researchers have discovered there are more bacteria on the average mobile than you will find in a toilet.

Experts said the reason is that phones are often passed between people which spreads the germs around - but they are never cleaned which means the diseases keep on building up.

Phones are just not part of our cleaning routine whereas we should think about giving them a wipe with an antibacterial substance every now and then.

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Previous research has found that other things we assume are clean are in reality rather disgusting.

Scientists discovered that smartphone and tablet screens carry more germs than a toilet seat.

A 2013 report by British watchdog Which? collected samples from 90 devices and found “hazardous” levels of bacteria that can make people sick, including E. coli.

The report said that this could be because of the busy lifestyle that people lead today with many carrying their cellphones to the loo. Phones also get hot and are we mostly hold it in our hands or keep it in bags and pockets.

A study conducted in 2015, carried out by Dr. William DePaolo, assistant professor in the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology department of the University of Southern California, collected swabs from the phone screens of Buzzfeed employees to check for bacteria in comparison to a toilet seat.

The study found that while the toilet had around 3 species of bacteria, the cellphones has on an average 10-12 species of bacteria.

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The phone screens also had “worse types of bacteria” including E. coli and faecal bacteria.

One iPad had 600 units of Staphylococcus aureus, while a smartphone had 140. The dirtiest keyboard had 480, compared to less than 20 units per swab of an office toilet.

A report in Bustle states that the alarming studies claiming that cellphones are 10 times dirtier than the average toilet seat can be sometimes misleading.

Dr Chuck Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, the toilet seat is one of the cleanest places in the house. Even cleaner than your chopping board.

He told BBC that "It’s one of the cleanest things you’ll run across in terms of micro-organisms. It’s our gold standard – there are not many things cleaner than a toilet seat when it comes to germs."

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"Usually there are about 200 times more faecal bacteria on the average cutting board than on a toilet seat," he said.

Another way to keep your phones clean, experts suggest, is by keeping your hands clean.

Not just phones, ATMs are quite dirty too

A research from last year found that the keypad of automated teller machines (ATM) may be loaded with bacterias from spoiled food to parasites that may also cause sexually transmitted disease (STDs). Automated teller machine (ATM) keypads represent a specific and unexplored microhabitat for microbial communities.

Professor at New York University, US, Jane Carlton said, "Our results suggest that ATM keypads integrate microbes from different sources, including the human microbiome, foods, and potentially novel environmental organisms adapted to air or surfaces,"

"DNA obtained from ATM keypads may therefore provide a record of both human behaviour and environmental sources of microbes," Carlton added.

The researchers in June and July 2014 took swabs of keypads from 66 ATM machines from Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, in the US.

ATM keypads located in laundromats and stores had the highest number of biomarkers with the most prominent being Lactobacillales (lactic acid bacteria), which is usually found in decomposing plants or milk products.

In other samples, the researchers observed the biomarker Xeromyces bisporus, which is associated with spoiled baked goods.

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