One in six mobile phones tainted by faecal matter

More than one in six mobile phones are coated with some kind of bacteria, including E.coli. That's bacteria from poo. Wash your hands!

Rory Reid
2 min read

The tech-obsessed denizens of the UK are taking dirty talk to new extremes. More than one in six mobile phones are contaminated with some kind of bacteria, including E.coli, according to recent research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

The LSHTM discovered this startling revelation after taking 390 samples of bacteria from the hands and phones of people in 12 cities across the UK. Sixteen per cent of hands and phones were found to contain E.coli, a potentially deadly bacteria transmitted in faeces.

The largest proportion of contaminated phones were found in Birmingham (41 per cent). Londoners, meanwhile, had the highest proportion of E.coli present on their hands (28 per cent).

Why are our phones so filthy? Well, the logical conclusion is that people simply aren't washing their hands after dropping the kids off at the pool. They won't admit it, though -- 95 per cent of the participants in this study claimed they wash their hands with soap "whenever they could".

E.coli wasn't the only bacteria discovered during the study. Some 31 per cent of participants' hands and 25 per cent of phones studied were found to harbour Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria is naturally found in human noses and on skin and can cause a range of illnesses from minor skin infections such as boils and abscesses, to life-threatening diseases like pneumonia and meningitis.

Even those of us who wash our hands most of the time are at risk. Mobile phones, it turns out, are great places for bacteria to survive. They get all the warmth they need when the phone is in use and are frequently bathed in delicious proteins whenever we spit into the receiver. As a result, it's fairly easy to re-infest your digits on a phone that was handled by dirty hands just once.

How do you guys feel about these findings? Do you wash your hands? Properly? Does the news fill you with dread at the prospect of borrowing a friend's mobile phone? Will you ever touch any gadget again? Get down and dirty in the comments section below, or over on our pristine Facebook page.