Study: ATMs as Dirty as Public Toilets

Samples taken from public restrooms and ATMs were found to contain pseudomonads and bacillus, bacteria that are known to cause sickness.

ATM keypads are as dirty as public toilet seats, according to a recent study by British researchers. Researchers first took swabs from keypads of ATMs around England then took similar swabs from the seats of public toilets and compared the bacteria.

The samples from both locations were found to contain pseudomonads and bacillus, bacteria that are known to cause sickness.

''We were interested in comparing the levels of bacterial contamination between heavily used ATM machines and public lavatories,” said Dr. Richard Hasting, microbiologist for BioCote. “We were surprised by our results because the ATM machines were shown to be heavily contaminated with bacteria; to the same level as nearby public lavatories.

''In addition, the bacteria we detected on ATMs were similar to those from the toilet, which are well known as causes of common human illnesses.''

BioCote carried out the swab tests after they conducted a survey which revealed people consider public lavatories to be the biggest health risk. ATM pin pads and cash machines ranked tenth place in the survey as health risks.

''It's ironic that while people perceive chip and pin pads to be the least dirtiest, our swabbing experiments have actually shown them to be dirtier than public lavatories,” Hasting said.

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