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article imageATMs found to be as dirty as public toilets

By David Silverberg     Jan 12, 2011 in Health
A UK study found cash machines to contain more bacteria than some public toilets. But a medical specialist says, "Ninety-nine percent of transmission of bacteria that makes you sick is between human beings."
BioCote recently swapped surface areas on cash machines across England, later finding that ATMs keypads contained pseudomonads and bacillus, bacterias known to cause sickness and diarrhoea. Researchers swapped public toilets and found the same bacteria.
Dr. Richard Hastings, microbiologist for BioCote, told the Telegraph: "We were surprised by our results because the ATM machines were shown to be heavily contaminated with bacteria; to the same level as nearby public lavatories."
BioCote carried out the tests after they conducted a large survey of what Brits considered to be the dirtiest places. They ranked public toilets as number one, and cash machines ranked tenth.
A row of portable toilets
A row of portable toilets
Photo by ajstarks
Hastings added, according to the Telegraph: ''...it's ironic that while people perceive chip and pin pads to be the least dirtiest, our swabbing experiments have actually shown them to be dirtier than public lavatories.''
Dr. William Schaffner, a preventative medicine specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says this study shouldn't set our alarm bells ringing too high.
"Bacillus is trivial," he says to CBS News. "It only causes infections in the most compromised people in hospitals. Pseudomonads is quite similar."
He went on to add: "99 percent of transmission of bacteria that makes you sick is between human beings."
A study earlier this year found another breeding ground for germs: cellphones. The Mobile Hygiene Campaign wrote in a press release, "We now use our phones at the park, in a hospital, in the bathroom, and then during a meal or while in bed, sometimes just in one day. Not enough infection prevention experts are talking about this with patients."
It should be noted this campaign is associated with a company that produces sanitary wipes for cellphones.
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