Men's unhygienic desks exposed

01 Jun 2012

Men's offices are dirtier than women's and contain significantly higher numbers of bacteria, a study has found.

Much of the reason is probably down to hygiene, say the US researchers - who point out that men are "commonly perceived to have a more slovenly nature".

Scientists took 450 swab samples from 90 offices occupied by men and women in New York, San Francisco and Tucson, Arizona.

In total they identified more than 500 types of bacteria, most of which originated from human skin, noses, ears and "intestinal cavities".

Chairs and telephones had some of the highest concentrations of bugs, with lower numbers on desktops, keyboards, and computer mice.

San Francisco appeared to have cleaner offices than the other two American cities, for reasons that remained unknown.

But the researchers, led by Dr Scott Kelly, from San Diego State University in California, were clear about why greater numbers of bacteria were found in men's offices.

They wrote in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE: "Surfaces in offices inhabited by men were consistently more contaminated than those of offices inhabited by women.

"Men are known to wash their hands and brush their teeth less frequently than women, and are commonly perceived to have a more slovenly nature."

Copyright Press Association 2012

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