If you carry a purse, you are essentially toting a big bag of bacteria around with you everywhere you go. That’s the finding of a new UK study, which claims that women’s handbags hosted more bacteria than the average toilet flush.
We should note that the research was conducted by a cleaning and “hygiene services” company called Initial, which sells hand sanitizers and surface wipes and has a pretty clear financial incentive here. (The press release helpfully suggests that you purchase their sanitizers and wipes to keep your nasty handbag clean.) But your purse is still coated in germs, microbiologists not connected to the UK study confirm.
“About a third of them have fecal bacteria on them,” confirms Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist who has studied bacteria living on handbags, plus all sorts of delightfully disgusting things like E. coli on shopping carts and germy office break rooms. Gerba’s research found that the bottoms of handbags were the nastiest, likely because women placed them on the bathroom floor (that is what the little hooks on the back of the doors are there for, people!).
The UK study found that the handle was a bacteria hotspot, and the stuff in the inside of the bag like makeup or hand cream had the toilet-flush levels of bacteria.
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