Sunday, October 16, 2011

So what's on your cell phone? Lotsa germs

These days it's uncommon to see people without a cell phone in their hands while carrying on their every day lives. This includes from personal experience, talking while using a public toilet. Why the necessity and urgency to communicate with someone while answering nature's call to put it politely, is a mystery to me. I've been privy to people in nearby stalls gossiping on their cell phones while using the toilet facilities, making social arrangements and other inconsequential chatter. It can wait people! But I digress.

Research conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, a study suggested that one in six cell phones is - wait for it - contaminated with faecal matter, according to research for Global Handwashing Day, which took place on October 15. The researchers took almost 400 samples from phones ande hands in twelves British cities. Their findings are interesting in that 16% of phones and 16% of hands harbored E. coli bacteria.

Although 95% of people said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92% of phones and 82% of hands had bacteria on them. Furthermore, 16% of hands and 16% of phones were found to harbour E. coli – bacteria of a faecal origin. Thinking further, this indicates at least to me that not everyone washes their hands when possible and not everyone tells the truth when asked.

Researchers travelled to 12 cities in various locations in England and took 390 samples from mobile phones and hands which were analysed in the lab to find out the type and number of germs lurking there. They also asked participants a series of questions about their handwashing habits.

To get back to National Handwashing Day, how many people reading this were even aware that this was a day put aside to - well - draw attention to the importance of washing hands. In the way of background information, the day was established by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing in 2008 to:

• Foster and support a global culture of handwashing with soap.
• Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in every country.
• Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.

Global Handwashing Day was originally created for children and schools, but can be celebrated by anyone promoting handwashing with soap.

Each year, over 200 million people are involved in celebrations in over 100 countries around the world. Global Handwashing is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies, and individuals.

Thinking further (again), 200 million people world wide are involved are involved in some way to the act of  washing their hands.

Here's a link for Global Handwashing Day:

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