Credit cards more ‘dirty' than toilet seats

28th of March 2012
Credit cards more ‘dirty' than toilet seats

Nearly half our credit cards could be carrying high levels of bacteria, according to a study.

And tests have shown that more than a quarter of banknotes also reveal alarming levels of bacterial contamination.

A small-scale study carried out by Dr Ron Cutler, senior lecturer at the school of biological and chemical sciences at the University of London, analysed 200 banknotes and 45 credit cards.

A total of 26 per cent of the notes and 47 per cent of the credit cards showed high levels of bacteria including E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus

"We all handle money and credit cards on a daily basis, but it is unlikely that we wash our hands directly afterwards," said Dr Cutler. "Good hand hygiene at all times can help prevent the spread of infection."

Overall around 80 per cent of the banknotes and 78 per cent of the credit cards tested showed traces of bacteria - and some carried more germs than the average toilet seat.

The toilet seats examined had 10 to 20 bacterial colonies forming units in every 4cm squared, while heavily contaminated notes had a similar or slightly higher number. However, heavily contaminated credit cards had more than 60 bacterial colonies forming in the same sized area.



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