I was out last weekend with some friends to the movies. Waiting in the tickets line, my friend Rachid is snacking on a bag of popcorn when one piece falls on the ground. Rachid picks it right away. There are no garbage near, she just decides to eat it. I can’t believe my eyes, I can feel the nerves on my back tensing. To the horrified look on my face, Rachid explains the 5 seconds rule.


Yeea, humm, to me that is real wack! I am more like :


My friends often joke about me being too much of a germaphobe. Hey, if that is what you call people who refuse to touch dirt, I accept the qualification. I find too often people are negligent when it comes to germs in the environment we live in. I decided to do a little digging and get the statistics down.

Forbes Magazine reports the following:

  • According to a study by a Northern Ireland hospital, most cell phones and office desk phones had evidence of bacterial growth; 15% of phones were growing bacteria known to cause infection.
  • Dr. Gerba from the University of Arizona reports that 71% of gas pump handles are contaminated with germs that can make you ill.
  • According to Dr Kelly Reynolds – Public Health Researcher, most people do not wash their hands before eating. Condiment dispensers like menus, ketchup bottles and salt shakers are almost never cleaned and pass through the hands of hundreds of people.
  • A study found that 18% of people do not wash their hands after using the restroom; contaminating the restroom door handle and everything else they touch after this.
  • One study of handrails on New York escalators found more than three million counts of pseudomonas putida, dirt bacteria, per swab analyzed. While common in the environment, these bacteria can cause respiratory infections in anyone who’s immune system isn’t running 100%.
  • After ordering 21 drinks at different restaurants, researchers for the Journal of Environmental Healtth found 25 different microorganisms on those lemons and limes, including E. coli

To the above listing add germs you come in contact with from holding grocery carts, grabbing communal free food, holding handles in the bus/subway. We could go to the extreme with this listing. In fact we could even go Monk. I wouldn’t go that far. Still next time you fill up your gas tank, go to the supermarket, grab the bottle of ketchup in a restaurant or exit the restroom, consider the little guys you might unintentionally be grabbing.
On this note, A bon entendeur, Salut!