Here comes a good incentive to look around your office with a fresh eye!
A recent study by boffins at University of California, San Diego, reveals that offices all over the States are swarming with bacteria, and what is going on bacteria-wise in men’s offices in New York defies imagination. Men’s offices are reported to be dirtier than women’s – which is hardly surprising – and the places that are most apt to collect bacteria are phones and chairs.
Dr. Scott Kelley (San Diego State University) and his colleagues did a research on 90 offices in 3 cities – New York, San Francisco, and Tucson, Arizona – taking samples of different surfaces in the offices and analyzing them for bacteria. The results, published in the journal PLoS One, show that over 500 species of bacteria infest our offices. There are substantial differences in the amount of bacteria between men’s and women’s offices and among surface types, with bacteria definitely preferring chairs and phones. As for cities, San Francisco turned out to be the cleanest city whereas New York’s offices were found to be the dirtiest.
The majority of bacteria are typical human inhabitants who dwell on the skin and in various cavities inside our bodies, but there are others who come in from the outside environment.
Since men take less care to wash and brush their teeth compared with women, and their body surface is generally larger, they carry far greater amounts of different bacteria – whence they get onto office surfaces. That makes people the main contaminators of their surroundings, which was partially borne out by the findings of a research on airplane bacterial contamination.
Dr. Scott Kelley’s comment runs that people tend to spend more and more time indoors, though knowing little about the danger from bacteria and viruses infesting our premises. The study was intended to furnish primary information about bacterial communities in offices and reveal the way they get in.