Men's Offices Home To More Bacteria Than Female Counterparts
More than 500 different types of bacteria live in the typical United States office, putting the amount on par with previous counts of the bacteria in bathrooms and airplanes. The recent study also shows that men's offices are more polluted with bacteria than women's offices.
The most common places for these bacteria to thrive is on the phone and on the chair, the study says.
The reason for the phone can be pretty obvious - it is in contact with a person's mouth, ears, and relatively close to the nose and eyes as well. The chair is a bit more hard to explain, although researchers say it might have to do with the fact that it is easier to swab a chair for bacteria rather than a bumpy surface like a keyboard.
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And why are men's offices more bactera-ridden than their female counterparts? The researchers offered two explanations.
One is that, yes, men are considered less hygenic. Past research has shown that men brush their teeth and wash their hands less than women. The other is more of a hypothesis. Since men's bodies are bigger than women's, there is more surface area for bacteria to grow in the mouths or other parts of the body.
Offices are playing an increasingly large role in our daily lives, with many people not going outside for eight to nine hours a day.
"...this is the human habitat, and I think it's important to know what is in our human habitat and where it comes from," said study co-author Scott Kelley, a biologist at San Diego State University.
The team studied offices in New York, San Francisco, and Tuscon. New York was the most contaminated (no surprise here), with San Francisco coming in second, and Tuscon the least contaminated.
The most common group of bacteria includes the group responsible for cholera and E.coli poisoning.
However, there is no reason for sudden panic and influx of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer stresses Kelley. Most of the bacteria isn't harmful, and if it were, we would have sure noticed by now.
"I don't want people to be frightened of their own offices."