Of the more than 600 cubicles in nine different professions examined by researchers from the University of Arizona, the bacteria levels found in accountants' offices finished second only to the levels found in schoolteachers' classrooms.
Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, said that the phones, desks and keyboards regularly used by teachers, accountants and bankers harbored nearly two to 20 times more bacteria per square inch than other professions. Phones ranked as the No. 1 home for office germs, followed by desks, keyboards and computer mice.
Gerba hypothesized that the reasons accountants and bankers (No. 3) came out high on the list was because workers in the fields tend to spend their entire work day at their desks.
Gerba, who has been tracking "Germs in the Workplace" since 2002, said that bacterial presence on office surfaces appears to have decreased overall, in some cases by nearly five times the initial count. Gerba's work is partially backed by the Clorox Co. For the testing, samples were collected in fall 2005 from private offices and cubicles in office buildings located in Tucson, Ariz., and Washington.
The "germiest" jobs rankings follow:
- Teachers (17,900 bacteria per square inch)
- Accountants (6,030 bacteria per square inch)
- Bankers (5,400 bacteria per square inch)
- Radio DJs (3,233 bacteria per square inch)
- Doctors (2,620 bacteria per square inch)
- Television producers (2,460 bacteria per square inch)
- Consultants (1,250 bacteria per square inch)
- Publicists (1,020 bacteria per square inch)
- Lawyers (900 bacteria per square inch)
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