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 John O'Hagan

Your Office Phone

This is enough to make you dial 911: Office phones often have more than 25,000 germs per square inch, and your desk, computer keyboard, and mouse aren’t far behind. “Phones, including cell phones, can be pretty gross; they get coated with germs from your mouth and hands,” says Robert Donofrio, Ph.D.

Although we’d like to think of ourselves as cleaner than guys, women’s offices have twice the number of bacteria (but men’s are slightly more likely to harbor antiobiotic-resistant staphylococcus). In fact, Gerba calls desks “bacteria cafeterias,” because of all the food particles he found there. Most common office areas -- kitchens, copiers -- are not as dirty as individual desks, although the microwave is pretty bad.


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