Is your dirty, nasty office making you sick?

Kimberly-Clark study finds dirty office stuff isn’t confined to bathroom

A study out today confirms what some people may have suspected - your office environment is a dirty place - and we're not just talking about the usual suspect: the bathroom.

According to Kimberly-Clark Professional the place where US workers eat and fix their lunch topped the list of office germ "hot-spots," with sink and microwave door handles found to be the dirtiest surfaces touched by office workers on a daily basis.

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The list of the dirtiest office locations in order of dirtiest goes like this:  

  • break room sink faucet handles
  • microwave door handles
  • keyboards
  • refrigerator door handles
  • water fountain buttons
  • vending machine buttons
  • computer mice and desk phones

Study hygienists swabbed the locations above to measure levels of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is present in all animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mold cells. Detection of ATP indicates the presence of contamination by any of these sources. Everyday objects with an ATP reading of 300 or higher are considered to have a high risk for spreading illness, Kimberly Clarke wrote.

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"Because kitchens and personal work spaces can become instantly re-contaminated, employers need to arm their employees with the knowledge and tools necessary to reduce the spread of germs. Simple solutions, like placing sanitizing wipes in kitchens and providing employees with easy access to hand sanitizers, underscored by education in hand and surface hygiene, can serve as the impetus to engage employees in maintaining a healthy office environment," Kimberly Clarke wrote.

The Kimberly-Clark study, " The Healthy Workplace Project* collected nearly 5,000 individual swabs from office buildings housing more than 3,000 employees.

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