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Fecal matter found on 1 in 6 cellphones

The presence of E. coli on so many mobile phones suggests people aren't washing their hands with soap when they ought to.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 18, 2011 10:26AM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronski at partner site MainStreet.


MainStreet on MSN MoneyYou might wash your hands after reading this stat: Researchers in the U.K. have discovered that one in six mobile phones in Britain have fecal matter on them.


The study found that 16% of hands and 16% of phones tested positive for E. coli, a bacteria of a fecal origin, say scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London. Post continues after video.

E. coli, a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and kidney failure in severe cases, was the cause of a deadly outbreak in Europe this summer that resulted in 31 deaths and illness of more than 3,000.


Researchers say the contamination suggests that people are not as diligent about their personal hygiene as they say they are. Scientists discovered that although 95% of people said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92% of phones and 82% of hands had the bacteria on them.


"People may claim they wash their hands regularly but the science shows otherwise," Ron Cutler, of Queen Mary, University of London, said in a written statement.


Results are based on 390 samples taken from mobile phones and owners' hands in 12 cities. The study was conducted in tandem with Global Handwashing Day, held every year on Oct. 15. Its aim is to "transform the action of washing hands with soap into an automatic behavior," say researchers.


"I hope the thought of having E. coli on their hands and phones encourages them to take more care in the bathroom," Val Curtis, leader for Global Handwashing Day from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a written statement. "Washing your hands with soap is such a simple thing to do but there is no doubt it saves lives."


More on MainStreet and MSN Money:

Oct 18, 2011 12:42PM
No surprise to me.  Every time I go into a public restroom, a dude walks in, does his business and goes right out the door without even looking at the sink.
Oct 18, 2011 1:48PM
Stop using your phone to wipe your azz .
Oct 19, 2011 7:22AM
Brings a whole new meaning to crappy phone service.
Oct 19, 2011 1:49PM
I'm not surprised...most people talk **** on their phones most of the time anyway...
Oct 18, 2011 1:57PM
People gotta just stop talking Sh** on the phone, is all.
Oct 18, 2011 3:49PM
It is amazing how many people don't wash their hands after using the toilet.  I see it all the time when I'm in the restroom at work.  Frankly, these people are disgusting.  They go in the bathroom and do whatever, then walk right out into our office and start shaking hands with others, etc.  They're pigs!

This is exactly the reason I don't use other people's phones if I can avoid it.  I also make it a point to carry my own pen so I can avoid using the one on the counter that was just used by a hundred people with fecal matter on their hands. 

Oct 18, 2011 4:25PM
I'm suprsied its not higher than that.  Doesnt matter where I go, if I use the facilities, its appalling a the number of guys who come in and then leave without bothering to even LOOK at the sinks, let alone wash their hands.  Theatres, restaurants, etc.  Keep that in mind Ladies the next time your on a date.  Theres a better than 80% chance the guy sitting accross from you hasnt bothered to wash their hands after using the facilities.
Oct 18, 2011 1:46PM



You probably forgot the most important part of that scenario.


"All the while, talking or texting on his cell phone."


Sounds like some people, when time to wipe, forgot which hand held the TP and which hand held the Cell phone.... 


As UPS would say... "What can brown do for you?"

Oct 18, 2011 2:31PM

I just read that NASA wants to look at sending a probe to study the planet Uranus


Sounds like many cell phones have all ready done so.

Oct 19, 2011 4:56PM

I wash my hands often daily, not on the level of Howard R Hughes in "The Aviator", but I spend around 20 seconds going up past my wrists with gentle soap, such as Dove.  We grew up with Ivory and Lifebuoy and nail scrubbers.  

Oct 19, 2011 11:07AM

Statistically speaking 2 people who commented on this so far have dirty hands and phones... and keyboard too (unless the phone was used to add the comment).


Seriously, as a guy I can see not washing with soap after a leak if you're careful and don't firehose the place down, but if you take a dump who in their right mind would not wash with soap, and I mean wash, like for 20 seconds?  Think about it, how many times a day do people pick their noses, rub their eyes, or chew on their fingers?


Another point, how often do people clean their darn phones???

Oct 19, 2011 12:13PM
Oct 18, 2011 3:44PM

from what I've seen...

..more than one cell phone in six is crappy!

Oct 18, 2011 2:55PM
Using Bocca Pura will remedy this issue,look for it at their site: I found it has many uses and many advantages one being in works on contact and since it kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria I spray it on my computer keyboard, anyways check it out! 
Oct 19, 2011 11:15AM
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