Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dirtiest Place in the Office: Men's Desks

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 9:17 AM

New research suggests that men's offices have "significantly more bacteria" than women's.

An examination of 90 offices in New York, San Francisco and Tucson, Ariz., found that office chairs and phones were the most bacteria-heavy surfaces, rather than keyboards. The bacteria mostly came from human bodies—mainly skin, oral cavities and nasal cavities. Researchers also noted a "surprising number of bacterial genera" associated with the digestive tract.

The study published in the journal PloS One noted that the difference between the sexes was due to bad male hygiene.

Dr. Michael Gardam, head of infection control at Toronto's University Health Network, said that office workers "shouldn't freak out."

"I don't want people to look at this study and go, 'Oh my God, my office is filthy,"' said Gardam. "No, your office is covered in bacteria—like every other surface you're ever going to touch. They're everywhere. And that's normal."

The researchers said the study could be the first step in further research, such as analyzing so-called ''sick buildings.''

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