Sunday, October 16, 2011

Researchers: One in Six Mobile Phones in the UK Contain Fecal Matter

According to a study released on Friday (October 14) by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, one in six cellphones in Britain may be contaminated with fecal matter that can spread E. coli, very possibly because so many people don't wash their hands properly after using the toilet.

Researchers who conducted the study also concluded that people lie about how often they wash their hands after using the toilet. Specifically, 390 microscopic samples were collected from mobile phones and the hands of volunteers in twelve cities throughout the UK. Of the samples collected, 95% of respondents said they washed their hands with soap and water where possible. Yet, lab analysis revealed that 92% of phones and 82% of hands had bacteria on them. The researchers also found that 16% of hands and 16% of cellphones harbored E. coli bacteria, which is found in feces and can cause serious illness.

COMMENT: The study was released to coincide with Global Hand-washing Day, which is celebrated on October 15. "Our analysis revealed some interesting results from around the UK. While some cities did much better than others, the fact that E. coli was present on phones and hands in every location shows this is a nationwide problem. People may claim they wash their hands regularly, but the science shows otherwise," Dr. Ron Cutler, of Queen Mary, University of London, said in a news release drawing attention to National Hand-washing Day.

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