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Smartphones and tablets dirtier than toilet seats

Published on 17/09/2013

Smartphones and tablets have been found to contain more bacteria and germs responsible for vomiting and diarrhoea than toilet seats, a Which? test showed.

Keyboards can harbour harmful germs

A routine swab test of 90 devices including smartphones, tablets and keyboards showed most had ‘hazardous’ levels of germs.

One iPad was found to contain more than 600 units of Staphylococcus aureus, a substance that can create harmful toxins leading to food poisoning. In comparison the worst devices after this were a keyboard (480 units), smartphone (140 units) and an office toilet seat (less than 20 units).

The researchers feel that today’s society and hectic lifestyles, especially our constant need for technological interaction, are responsible for unhygienic devices. Rushed loo breaks, dirty fingers and eating at our desks all contribute to the build-up of germs and harmful bacteria.

James Francis, the microbiologist behind the research, said: "A count of 600 on a plastic device of any sort is incredibly high. It indicates that some people don't wash their hands a lot.

"In the food industry, if we found those levels of bacteria from a hand swab of a food handler, they'd have to be taken out of the workplace and retrained in basic hygiene."

Tests for Enterobacteria showed that one tablet, four smartphones and five keyboards contained more than 15,000 of the bacteria. In contrast there were less than 10 on either the toilet seat of flush handle. Positively there were no traces of either e.coli or salmonella present in the Enterobacteria test.

Which? advises that devices should be cleaned frequently with anti-bacterial wipes but should avoid cleaning with anything that contains alcohol.

Health insurance can let you be treated in a private hospital or ward that has a proven reduced risk of harmful bacteria and infection.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013

Categories:  Health InsuranceHealth
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