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Bathroom Surfaces Full of Germs PDF Print E-mail

They’re Everywhere - study finds

Toronto - If you skip the sink after going to the bathroom, you really might want to think again.

A new study found bacteria are plentiful on virtually every bathroom surface you might imagine touching - toilet handles, stall doors, soap and towel dispensers.

Gut bacteria - the type of bugs that live in the human gastrointestinal tracts - were even found on the handles of bathroom exits, a dead giveaway that not everyone is following Mom’s advice.

The study, done at the University of Colorado in Boulder, saw researchers test surfaces in 12 bathrooms on the university campus to look for microbes.  An equal distribution of men’s and women’s bathrooms were tested.  The findings were published Thursday in the journal PLos One,  a publication of the U.S. Public Library of Science.

The researchers found a wide variety of bacteria, even though the facilities were well-maintained, Flores said.

Interestingly, some toilet handles were positive for soil bacteria suggesting some people were using their feet to flush the toilet, the authors said.

Bathroom bugs are something one should pay attention to, suggested Gardam, who is director of infection prevention and control at Toronto’s University Health Network.

"If you are using the toilet after someone else, not cleaning your hands, and that other person happened to have Salmonella, you could potentially catch it.  So it is appropriate to be paranoid in that setting and actually clean your hands appropriately."

Winnipeg Free Press
Thursday, November 24, 2011

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