Don’t Touch That Dial

If you think your cell phone is a piece of crap, you might be right. According to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,

One in six mobile phones in Britain is contaminated with faecal matter, according to new research for Global Handwashing Day.

Experts say the most likely reason for the potentially harmful bacteria festering on so many gadgets is people failing to wash their hands properly with soap after going to the toilet.

The findings of the UK-wide study by scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London also reveal a tendency among Britons to lie about their hygiene habits.

Although 95% of people said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92% of phones and 82% of hands had bacteria on them. Worryingly, 16% of hands and 16% of phones were found to harbour E. coli-bacteria of a faecal origin.

This study ranks up there with the findings concerning dinner mints at restaurants—the ones near the bathroom that supposedly revealed traces of … well, you know. Or the germ analysis of New York City cabs that showed similar traces of, shall we say, bodily fluids (and not just urine) and other matter on door handles and on the passenger seats. (On a related note, you might want to wash your hands after tying your shoelaces.)

But what this study indicates is that people like to think they are hygienic but are not. I know people, good friends, even, who do not wash their hands after using the bathroom. One friend tells me he is convinced the sinks and the soaps are actually dirty and that he’s “careful” anyway. Sure he is. And so was Poppie.

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