Bacteria, Bacteria Everywhere! But, Should You Care? by Jessica Hodges
According to Steve Hawkes of The Telegraph, “smartphones, tablet computers and office keyboards are riddled with more dangerous bacteria than toilet seats.”
Say whaaa? According to a recent study, Hawkes reports, swabs from different smart touch-based devices contained absurd levels of bacteria. On average, toilet seats contain 20 units of Staphylococcus aureus (a bacteria that promotes the production of toxins that can lead to food poisoning), whereas (dun dun dun…) one iPad was reported to have 600 units of Staphylococcus!
Considering how bacteria laden our hands are, this news shouldn’t strike us as terribly unnerving. Microbiologist David Coil of University of California-Davis directly counters the hyper-wrought, hypochondriacal sensationalism that fuels articles like Hawke’s. In his recent Slate article, Coil lists three blunt points about the role of bacteria on our cell phones and on our bodies:
1. It is of no surprise that any average joe can find a remarkable amount of bacteria on just about any cell phone: “Sure, cellphones are covered in bacteria … because every inch of our bodies is also covered in bacteria.”
2. Not all bacteria is bad bacteria: “Most E.coli are perfectly fine. In fact, some are essential to have a healthy digestive tract…simply saying ‘E.coli‘ doesn’t provide very useful information. It’s akin to describing a burglar as ‘human.’”
3. Even if there are pathogens on your smart device, “that doesn’t equate to an actual health risk.
And, Coil continues, it’s pretty self explanatory as to why toilets are cleaner than the everyday household objects that your hands come in contact with. Aside from the fact that there’s less bacteria thriving on our thighs than there are on our hands, we tend to bleach the living daylights out of our toilets on a weekly basis (at the very least!).
Coil concludes his piece by outwardly declaring, “I would lick a toilet seat before I would lick a cellphone. Though neither one is very likely to cause any harm.” Hmm….
I found coil’s commentary to be rather liberating. While gabbing over the phone, no longer must you feel bound by the fear of vindictive bacteria armies raging onward- from your indifferent phone to your vulnerable cheek- with the intention of challenging your pristine health!
So what do you think? Would you lick a toilet seat???