Sep 20, 2013

    The dirty truth: Phones, tablets pip loo seat

    IT'S official - your smart- phones and tablets are dirtier than a public-toilet seat.

    British consumer watchdog Which? took swabs from 90 devices and found "hazardous" levels of bacteria that can make one sick, including E. coli, which can cause food poisoning, AFP Relaxnews reported.

    One iPad had 600 units of Staphylococcus aureus, while a smartphone had 140, compared to fewer than 20 units per swab of an office toilet.

    Staphylococcus aureus is a superbug which can cause mild boil on the skin to severe blood poisoning, which can be fatal.

    These bacteria found their way to people's devices when they take them to the washroom, presumably to multitask or to kill time, according to the study.

    "A count of 600 on a plastic device of any sort is incredibly high," according to AFP Relaxnews, which quoted microbiologist James Francis, who is the head researcher of the study.

    "It indicates that some people don't wash their hands a lot."

    Mr Francis added that in the food industry, should a food handler be found with such levels of bacteria he would have to be taken out of the workplace. He would then be required to go through training in basic hygiene again.

    Electronic-device manufacturers generally do not advocate cleaning the gadgets with soap and water or alcohol-based cleaners, but one should use a dry lint-free cloth to wipe them clean, according to Which?

    Owners of devices can also keep their hands clean by washing them often or using hand sanitisers regularly.