WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Gone are the days when our fathers used to take newspapers to the toilet.
- Fast forward to the 21st century, a lot of people especially millennials now take their phones to the toilet, contaminating it with bacteria.
- This is bad considering your possible exposure to harmful bacteria like E. Coli and salmonella.
Most young people cannot part with their phones even for a short time taking it everywhere with them, even to the toilet. This is not a good practice since you could be exposing yourself and others to bacteria.
Maybe you cannot wait to check how many ‘likes’ your Facebook post has gotten but this habit is not very hygienic. According to a recent study published in the journal Germs, an accumulation of germs on your phone could happen while sitting on the loo.
Scientists from London’s Metropolitan University analyzed 27 cell phones belonging to high schoolers to see how much bacterial infestation is on the phones. They used a contact plate method and microbial identification to determine a variety of bacteria.
The scientists detected bacterial contamination on all samples using the culture method. Over 17,000 bacterial gene copies and 20 different dominant microbial species were discovered.
Susan Whittier, director of clinical microbiology at New York-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center said that most of the pathogens found on those phones won’t cause illnesses, but some of them could be harmful.
“We’re not walking through a sterile environment, so if you touch a surface there could be something on that. There are lots of environmental contaminants,” Whittier said.
Flushing the toilet causes germs to fly everywhere.
“Toilet seats, handles, sinks and taps are covered in germs such as E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections and intestinal illness, C. diff which can result in diarrhea, and acinetobacter which can cause a contagious respiratory infection,” said microbiologist Paul Matewele in a related interview with The Sun.
According to the study, the most number of bacteria found on the mobile phone samples are: Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus hominis and Acinetobacter lwoffii.
Although the high level of contamination of phones with potentially pathogenic bacteria may spread infection, it does not appear to be the case. A more detailed research on this subject should be done in the future.
The study also has limitations like its small sample size and the inability to analyze bacterial contamination using culture and molecular methods on the same side of the phone at the same time.