The 8 Most Germ-Infested Areas at Work

The toilet seat doesn't even make the list. Find out what does.

The 8 Most Germ-Infested Areas at Work

Each year, Americans spend about $3 billion on doctors’ visits due to colds and another $2 billion on cold treatments. The workplace is ground zero for colds. You’d be surprised to find out where germs are most likely hiding in your office. Gathering data from a variety of different workspaces—law firms and call centers, among others—researchers swabbed thousands of surfaces. Here’s a list of the eight most contaminated areas. You might look at your keyboard differently after this.

Desk Phones

Nearly half of workplace desk phones are due for a serious clean. In a study conducted by the Healthy Workplace Project, 43 percent of desk phones had an ATP count (this refers to the concentration of adenosine triphosphate, an energy molecule found in growing microorganisms) of 100 or higher. If you're someone who works hard to avoid contact with office germs and thinks that your personal space is an exception to the rule, you might be dismayed to read this note of caution from Dr. Charles Gerba, who's a professor of Microbiology at the University of Arizona and who consulted with the study's researchers: "No one can avoid it entirely, but by washing, wiping and sanitizing, employees can reduce their rates of cold, flu and stomach illness by up to 80 percent.”

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