The butt of so many inapt comparisons, the venerable toilet seat is in the news again this week in another example of the confluence of weak science, stupid journalism and crass marketing. You’ve heard by now the story whizzing around the late-night and early morning TV shows, not to mention the office water cooler. Your cell phone has more germs than your average toilet seat!
Let’s take a moment and dump some logic on this latest British tabloid health scare. Germs can be good or bad. Germs are everywhere. Your hands are everywhere. Your hands have germs. Your cell phone is among the appendages your hands touch. Thus, there are germs on your phone.
Using the much-maligned toilet as a standard for cleanliness, other news reports say it is cleaner than the ice in your Slurpee, your office desk, your computer or a purse. And certainly cleaner than the p.r. departments of both British and American cell phone companies that somehow managed to get themselves in the news stories about this research from Manchester.
Bottom line? Keep a cell phone out of an infectious disease ward of a hospital and out of your mouth. Oh, and wash your hands before calling us.