Having lunch off a toilet seat is safer than a typical office desk, according to an American microbiologist.
“There’s more faecal bacteria in your kitchen sink than in your toilet after you flush it. People nuke their bathrooms, but not their kitchens,” The New Zealand Herald quoted Dr Charles Gerba, of Arizona University, as saying.
He added: “There are 200 times more E. coli on the cutting board than on a toilet seat. It’s safer to make a sandwich on a toilet seat than on a cutting board in the average home.”
This is because many people don’t sanitise the board properly after cutting up raw meat, or don’t use separate boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods.
And things only get worse at work.
The phone and the desktop are the “germiest” items in the office. The number of bacteria per square centimetre on a desktop is typically 400 times greater than on a toilet seat.
Gerba said: “The computer keyboard and mouse are next worst, then the drawers.”
As far as the office restroom is concerned, the door handle on the way in will be loaded with bad bugs, as will the underside of the toilet seat and the taps. However, the door handle on the way out won”t be so bad, because most people have washed their hands.
Gerba found that schools and daycare were the most unhygienic workplaces, because kids were less likely than adults to wash their hands and they picked up lots of germs from playgrounds.
Gerba advises the frequent use of hand sanitizer and regularly cleaning desks, phones, keyboards and computer mice with disinfectant wipes.