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February 2017

Public bathrooms: sanitary nightmare or hygiene heaven?

Written by Nicole Horne
Cleanliness and Hygiene, Medical Waste and Waste Disposal, Feminine Hygiene, Bathroom Hygiene

Most of us, like myself, cringe at the mere thought of having to use public toilets. In most cases, our expectations of a clean bathroom environment are met with the stark reality of having to place toilet paper over the toilet seat or flushing the toilet before bolting out of the cubicle in fear of the sneeze effect.

But new research in the journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology has revealed shocking news;  that public bathrooms are rarely more unhygienic than the average toilet at home!

Not so dangerous?

The study’s co-author Jack Gilbert said, “The restroom isn’t that dangerous. The organisms that can grow there have a very low probability of being able to cause an infection.”

Despite this, the number of bacteria found in public restrooms was still high, amounting to an average of 500,000 bacterial cells per square inch on all surfaces.

While it’s a heartening study, other tests haven’t proved quite so positive. One test from the University of Arizona in 1997 found remnants of fecal bacteria, salmonella and typhoid fever in one in ten public toilets.

Choose your own study

Which study you choose to listen to possibly depends on your general outlook in life, but it’s a wake-up call for your hygiene practices. No matter what the risk factor in a public toilet situation, they should be kept as clean as humanly possible.

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Nicole Horne

Nicole Horne

Nicole is a Digital Marketing Executive at Rentokil Initial Hygiene in Johannesburg. A self-proclaimed germaphobe, her love for hygienic environments and curiosity of all things “beneath the surface” fuels her enthusiasm for writing about the impact of germs in the workplace. She is passionate about creating awareness and sharing her knowledge on the impact of good hygiene practices. Follow Nicole on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on the the good, the bad and the germy.

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