ATMs Are Covered In Germs

by Terrence O’Brien — Feb 6th 2008 at 2:47PM

Surprise! ATMs are Covered in Germs

CBS 2 in Los Angeles apparently ran out of things to report this week — we guess they’re bored of Super Tuesday, the Super Bowl, and war — and jumped on a timeless “look how gross this is” story by swabbing Q-Tips on a bunch of ATMs, a piece of machinery that we all come in contact with on a regular basis. Not that this is much of a shock, but after sending the swabs to a lab, the investigators discovered that the ATMs were filthy. Of the 20 ATMs tested in the Los Angeles area, 17 were positive for some type of bacteria.

Most of the bacteria found was fairly common and not particularly dangerous, but some were covered in moraxella catarrhalis, a bacteria capable of causing everything from ear infections to meningitis, or rothia, which is common in our nose and mouth….we’re still wondering how that got on there.

One useful discovery the investigative team made was that ATMs with chrome or metal buttons were less likely to hold on to bacteria.

So, if you’re a bit of a hypochondriac you might want to avoid ATMs with plastic buttons or touch screens. In the meantime, stay tuned for the next sensationalist story here, as we’re just as guilty as CBS 2 when it comes to covering the ol’ “look how many germs are on this everyday object” story.

From CBS 2

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