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Bacteria and Germs
Things you'd rather not know!


Excrement contains a lot of disgusting bacteria—many of them still alive—and over 120 viruses, including hepatitis A. If the bacteria would just stay in the toilet, the world would be a lot different. But because most people's personal hygiene habits are so poor, E-coli has been found everywhere.


According to Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist in Arizona who calls himself "the Sultan of Slime," the bathroom is cleaner then the kitchen in the average house. Not that you'll want to mix a salad in the toilet bowl. But he says you're safer making a sandwich on top of the toilet bowl than in the kitchen.

The dirtiest spots in the kitchen are dishcloths, cutting boards, sponges, and sink handles. Surprisingly, the floor is often cleaner than the sink!


Hotel rooms are another source of woe for fecal fanatics. One study, conducted in the early 1990s, found that a cheap hotel room had a lot more fecal bacteria in it than an expensive one. Perhaps a reflection of the cleaning; or the guests...


One study found that 30 percent of all people didn't wash their hands after using a public bathroom—although 90 percent claimed they do. So do you really want to stick your hand in one of those bowls of mints at the exits of some restaurants? Did you ever wonder how many others who did that before you washed their hands before they left the bathroom?

No one has tested these mints for fecal matter, but one story, perhaps apocryphal, is that someone ran an ultraviolet light over a bowl to test for urine—and found it.


Other studies showed that half of all homes surveyed had fecal material in the washing machines, and underwear contained as much as ten grams of fecal matter. Washing didn't always help get rid of this, either, because most people do a load — a washing machine load, that is — along with other clothes, thereby spreading the fecal contamination around.


In one study, diarrhea-inducing E.coli was found on 10 percent of coffee mugs.

Between 7 and 42 percent of all paper money contained "revolting bacteria."

One study found fecal matter on the screen of an automated bank machine (think of all the dirty fingers that touch those screens before you do).

People who touch a pay phone and then touch their faces afterwards are dialing for trouble.


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