Don't flush the toilet with your mobile phone

It is not that often that Downtime receives a press release that starts, “Mobile phones could become the next key consumer market for built-in anti-bacterial protection.”

Our extensive recollection of UK advertising brings the phrase “kills 99% of all known germs, Dead”, to mind, but perhaps pouring bleach over your phone isn’t the best idea.

The press release – not surprisingly issued on behalf of an anti-bacterial cleansing firm, Microban – contained some wonderful statistics that you just know will be very exciting for newspaper picture editors:

  • Some mobile phones are covered with 18 times more bacteria than the flush handle in a men’s toilet (but it doesn’t say how many more than in a women’s toilet which we presume is a haven of cleanliness).
  • From a swab analysis of 30 handsets, seven had levels of bacteria exceeding recommended maximums.
  • Research suggests levels of bacteria linked to hospital infections are very high on handsets.

Some of these facts are contained in the wonderfully titled article, Are we aware how contaminated our mobile phones with nosocomial pathogens? , which was published in the Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials.

While swabbing our phone clean, Downtime can only wonder what word the person using predictive texting meant to type when they ended up with “nosocomial” as the word they actually used.

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