Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Men’s offices worse than women’s for workplace bacteria

Men's phones and chairs feature the
highest levels of bacteria: researchers.
All things are not equal when it comes to the bacteria in the office – men’s office spaces (especially their chair and phone) have a much higher bacteria count than women’s, a new study shows.

Researchers couldn’t find a significant difference in the office bacterial communities of New York and San Francisco, but in both cases, men’s offices had higher bacteria counts.

There are a lot of different bacteria present in our indoor environments, the researchers say. They identified more than 500 bacterial genera in offices in three cities.

They say most bacteria come from human skin or the nasal, oral or intestinal cavities.

Other bacteria may be brought in from soils and other sources.

While most workers may instinctively name their desktop, keyboard and mouse as bacteria-harboring devices, the researchers found the highest abundance of bacteria on chairs and phones.

The study appears in the open access journal PLoS ONE. It was funded by university grants as well as commercial sources (Clorox Corporation).

Source: Public Library of Science

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