Talking On A Cell Phone Like 'Placing Your Face On A Toilet Bowl'

from the yeah,-but-is-your-toilet-3G? dept

A new study checked out the mobile phones of 200 doctors and nurses, and found that 95 percent of them were contaminated with bacteria, while 1 in 8 had the MRSA staph bug. These findings pretty much echo those of previous studies, and like those earlier efforts, this one doesn't really go into exactly how dangerous these bacteria-laden handsets are. Unless, of course, you count the comments by the head of a "microbial sterilisation systems company" -- who in no way has a dog in this hunt -- that "holding your phone to your mouth is as dangerous as placing your face on a toilet bowl." Somehow, that comment doesn't seem too convincing, even though it's fairly colorful. If handsets were really portable mongers of bacteria-based death, one would think these medical studies might make that clear, and doctors and hospitals would take some steps to address the problem.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    But if it's your phone, then any contamination on the phone came from you. Thus, you're already infected.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    I don't pee on my phone. it isn't a toilet bowl.

     

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    dblevins (profile), Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:06am

    Gee, almost as contaminated as Doctor's ties !!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Anything exposed to the environment is contaminated. Why would anyone thing a cell phone is any different? Try a swab test on your pager, TV remote , car door remote, garage door opener, the pen in your shirt pocket, your wallet, your credit cards, or any one of a thousand every day items. A cell phone is no more risky a vector than any of those items.

     

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    Scote, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Actually, toilet's aren't nearly as dirty as people assume, partially because they get cleaned regularly. Want pathogenic bacteria? Check you kitchen sink drain.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

      Re:

      I think it was the mythbusters that did a bacterial test on many places around the house and found the toilet seat to be the cleanest by far (almost no bacteria at all), so I feel safe using cell phones. just need to worry about the cancer issue now...

       

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    jonnyq, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    In other news, placing your face on a toilet bowl is no more dangerous than talking on your cell phone.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 1:53pm

      Re:

      I disagree...the last time i placed my face in a toilet bowl I nearly puked my brains out.

       

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        Filthy Filthy Anonymous, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

        Re: Re:

        The last time I placed MY face in a toilet bowl I WAS puking my brains out...

        And another thing.... it's the bloody mind I'm concerned with, far far filthier than any darn phone i tell ya..

         

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    Bob-o, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:39am

    Welcome To Our Hone

    Notice there wasn't a p? Let's keep it that way.

    I don't talk to your toilet, so please don't pee on my phone.

     

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    SteveD, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    And I thought keyboards were supposed to be the big killer...

    You'll never be rid of germs in a hospital, because members of the public keep bringing them in! But what matters is the doctors interaction with the patient, getting them to follow good practises in keeping their hands clean etc.

     

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    GLaDOS, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    That thing is probably some kind of raw sewage container! Go ahead and rub your face all over it!

     

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    Terry Robinson, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    Toilet Bowls bad comparison for dirty

    Toilet bowls are regularly cleaned with strong disinfectants in almost any health environment. Several other surfaces we assume are clean like ice machines and desk surfaces regularly show more bacteria than toilet bowls.

    Additionally, the registered bacteria is well below what is considered to be enough to cause an infection to anyone which is conveniently overlooked.

    Quite the fearmongering, techdirt is too good a publication to make the same omissions as other media outlets.

     

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      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 3:28pm

      Re: Toilet Bowls bad comparison for dirty

      True enough—until you flush. Then you raise a fine mist, full of fecal bacteria, that spreads right through the air, onto your face, clothes, everywhere.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 3:33pm

        Re: Re: Toilet Bowls bad comparison for dirty

        not really, the concentration of fecal bacterial is no worse in the bathroom than anywhere else in the house, even brand new sealed items get fecal bacteria on them when you open it.

         

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    ondigo, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Hitchhiker's alert

    This doesn't make sense since Earthmen are descended from Golgafrinchan telephone disinfectors.

     

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    JB, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    A Quick Wipe

    I don't remember where I read it, but I remember it being stated that wiping the toilet seat off with some toilet paper is more effective at reducing bacterial contact than using those paper covers. I think the results were a 90% reduction in bacteria from simply wiping the seat. So, why not just quickly wipe the cell phone on your shirt or pants. I know I tend to wipe off the screen on my phone quite regularly since it collects oils from being in contact with my face, ear and hair.

     

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    TPBer, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

    Cup Your Hands...

    I Gotta Pee!

     

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    Bah, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 12:24pm

    Keyboards?

    Aren't keyboards supposed to be one of the dirtiest things that people use regularly? Maybe they should do something about that.

    Some kind of...clingfilm wrapper? That they change once a day?

     

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    Lisa, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Our dirty cell phones

    While this story just came out, I read two years ago how dirty and germ infested our cell phones were! About a year ago, I found a product on the Internet that makes wipes just for cell phones. The company is called Wireless Wipes.
    The wipes dry really fast and I love the green tea cusumber smell. Try them out! I use them all the time.

     

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    Yakko Warner, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    Doesn't surprise me

    Considering the crap people talk about on their phones all day, it just stands to reason...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    If we clean everything up completely then how will our immune systems learn?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      YES!!! THANK YOU!!! SOMEBODY WHO GETS IT!!! People, think about it, germs are everywhere. Part of the reason we get sick so easy these days is because everybody is so obsessed with making everything too clean. When we don't get exposed to germs, our bodies don't get a chance to form antibodies which protect against infectious diseases. By keeping everything so sterile, it actually makes it very easy for us to get sick. That's not to say that cleanliness isn't important, but there is a balance that needs to be maintained. I can understand, however, that it is an issue for discussion in the realm of hospitals, which is one place where cleanliness is essential for patient health. Beyond that, get over it, germs are everywhere 24x7.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

        Re: Re:

        Just because germs are the largest biomass on the rock, doesn't mean that we can't try to wipe em out.

         

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

    MSRA infected cellphones

    A new study checked out the mobile phones of 200 doctors and nurses, and found that 95 percent of them were contaminated with bacteria, while 1 in 8 had the MRSA staph bug.

    1. The term "contaminated with bacteria" is meaningless - we would die without some bacteria; if they mean "harmful" they need to say that.
    2. So, 1 in 8 hospital personnel are patients? I don't think so.

     

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    Marc McDonald, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 1:26pm

    See...

    This is why I don't let girls borrow my phone...they have cooties.

     

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    Jeff, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    Toilets, bombs and food heaved at guitars

    Then you probably don't want to do all this either...What do a toilet, atomic bomb, and food heaved at a guitar have in common? Something called Spoiked!, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2oGysxM-j4

     

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    identicon
    Dan, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Benjamins, bombs, and Barbies

    Kind of fits in the category of this video too. This is a fun music video on YouTube, "Spoiked" (Google it).

     

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    identicon
    Dentist Lake Worth, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 11:44pm

    Bacteria

    Study says that cellphone is one of the dirtiest things people have. It's germ count are bigger than you thought. It is more dirty than a mouse or keyboard in the office.

     

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    JimmyWhales, Dec 27th, 2010 @ 3:31pm

    I like my cell phone clean, thank you.

    I like my cell phone clean, and I'm glad I found Celluwipes. They're easy to carry, and I can clean my phone whenever it needs it (although I am a little OCD). Check 'em out at http://www.celluwipes.com

     

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