Life at the office isn’t always as clean as we’d like it to be, and we’re not just talking about the occasional foul language.
A new study of the dirtiest areas in the workplace offers some real eye-openers.
In the study, conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional, researchers tested almost 5,000 surfaces used by 3,000 people in a variety of workplaces. They measured levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which can indicate contamination by bacteria, yeast or mold. You have a decent chance of getting sick from touching objects with an ATP level of 300 or higher—and the researchers found that all of these six spots qualified:
Charles Gerba, PhD, better known as “Dr. Germ,” served as a consultant on this study. “People are aware of the risk of germs in the restroom, but areas like break rooms have not received the same degree of attention,” says Gerba. “This study demonstrates that contamination can be spread throughout the workplace when office workers heat up lunch, make coffee or simply type on their keyboards.”
Solution? “Before eating any meal or snack at work, your hands should be washed and scrubbed with soap and rinsed under clean running water” says Joan Salge Blake of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (But, based on the study, we assume you shouldn’t touch that sink faucet in the beak room when you’re done. Here’s where a paper towel comes in handy.) She adds, “You should also clean your desktop area as you would your kitchen table.”
Find out more places germs hide by taking our germ quiz.
What’s the scariest place in your office, and how do you deal with it? Let us know in the comment box below.
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