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Thu May 31, 2012 7:56AM
Men’s offices harbor significantly more bacteria than women’s workplaces.

Men’s offices harbor significantly more bacteria than women’s workplaces.

The offices of male workers harbor significantly more bacteria than their female counterparts, says a new US study published in the journal PLoS ONE. Researchers of the San Diego State University and the University of Arizona took 450 samples from 90 different office surfaces in New York City, San Francisco and Tucson, Arizona. They found overall the offices occupied by men significantly more tainted by bacteria than women’s workplaces. However, the types of the detected bacteria were the same, and came mostly from the skin, nose, mouth and digestive tract. Several types were also commonly found in feces. The authors suggested that the difference was possibly due to bad male hygiene. “Men are known to wash their hands and brush their teeth less frequently than women and are commonly perceived to have a more slovenly nature.” Some other reasons such as men’s larger body size may also explain why their offices are buggier than women’s, scientists added. Because men are generally bigger than women, there was more surface area for bacteria colonization. “skin is a major source of the bacteria, and if men’s hands are physically bigger, there’s more surface area to colonize bacteria. Men’s mouths are also bigger,” says co-author Scott Kelley of San Diego State University. The study also found chairs and phones as the buggiest office surfaces while desktops, keyboards and computer mice had fewer germs. “Humans are spending an increasing amount of time indoors, yet we know little about the diversity of bacteria and viruses where we live, work and play,” said Dr. Kelley. “Westerners spend about 90 percent of time indoors in artificial environments that we build, and workplaces are where we spend a lot of our time,” he added. SJM/SJM
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