Study shows that airport security bins carry more germs than toilet seats


You probably wash your hands after using the airport bathroom-but what about after going through the security line?

The plastic trays - used at airport checkpoints around the globe and touched by millions of passengers as they drop shoes, laptops, luggage and other items into them to clear X-ray scanners - have been found to harbor a variety of germs, including the ones responsible for the common cold, according to researchers in Europe.

On the contrary, the study says, of the 42 samples taken from toilet lids, flush buttons and door locks, there were zero samples where scientists detected the presence of a cold virus.

About 10 percent of what you touch at the airport is carrying a virus - and the most heavily infested place is one you can not avoid.

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No respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces, according to the study published September 4 in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases.

The study, called Deposition of respiratory virus pathogens on frequently touched surfaces at airports, was based on 90 surface samples and four air samples collected at Helsinki-Vantaa airport over the course of three weeks in 2016. The flu virus was also present.

A survey's found these trays are where diseases are most likely to lurk at airports.

It concluded: "Security check trays appear to pose the highest potential risk and are used by virtually all embarking passengers".

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"These boxes typically cycle with high frequency to subsequent passengers, and are typically seized with a wide palm surface area and strong grip".

Pandemic experts also found evidence of viruses on 10% of airport surfaces tested - which also included shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters and children's play areas.

The investigation by researchers from the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare involved sampling surfaces immediately after peak hours and before any cleaning had been performed. "To our knowledge, security trays are not routinely disinfected".

'The new findings support preparedness planning for controlling the spread of serious infectious diseases in airports.

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The study points out that coughing into your hands and then washing them is the key to containing contagious illnesses and not passing them on.