May 5, 2008
Computer keyboards are filthier than toilets, according to a recent study.
British magazine Which? Computing requested that a microbiologist compare germs on 33 office keyboards to toilets and bathroom door handles and found the keyboards contained the most bacteria. In fact, they were so dirty, they could cause symptoms of food poisoning and other illnesses, according to the report. One keyboard had 150 times the recommended limits on bacteria and was five times as dirty as one of the toilet seats, the microbiologist found. The magazine said that office workers who fail to wash their hands after using the bathroom and those who eat lunch at their desks are likely to blame for the dirty keyboards. Half the people surveyed by the magazine said they clean their keyboards less than once a month. Ten percent said they never clean their keyboards, and 20% said they never clean their mouse. A study released last year by the University of Arizona's Dr. Charles Gerba contained similar findings. It found that women's makeup, phones, pocketbooks, hand lotion bottles, keyboards, desk drawers, and mice had the most germs (respectively). Men's wallets, handheld devices, and phones topped the male list. That study found that women's desks contained, on average, seven times more germs than men's desks. Gerba, whose study was backed by Clorox, recommended frequent hand washing and the use of disinfectant wipes. The British report recommends turning off computers, shaking out food crumbs, using a damp cloth to wipe surfaces, and following up by disinfecting with alcohol wipes.
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