Mobile phones ‘dirtier than toilet handles’

Mobile phones in the UK are covered with up to 18 times more living bacteria than the flush handle on a men’s lavatory, research suggests.

Bacteria can linger on a mobile phone surface. Photo: Which?

Swabs and analysis of 30 mobile handsets found that seven had high or warning levels of environmental bacteria, according to consumer group Which? One contained such an intense concentration of bacteria, including faecal coliforms, that anyone using it could have faced a serious stomach upset.

Which? said the findings suggest millions of UK mobiles would exceed the recommended acceptable levels of bacteria.

While not immediately harmful, elevated levels of bacteria indicate poor hygiene and can act as a breeding ground for more serious germs.

Hygiene expert Jim Francis told Which?: “The levels of potentially harmful bacteria on one mobile were off the scale. That phone needs sterilising.”

The tests showed how easily bacteria could linger on the surface of a phone, which could be passed on to other people if they held the handset to look at photos or other applications.

Which? advises that phones can be cleaned with an alcohol wipe.

Source: Telelgraph, 28 Jul 2010

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