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Gas pump handles are filthiest surfaces Americans touch

Thursday, November 03, 2011 by: Christina Luisa
Tags: gas pump, bacteria, health news

(NaturalNews) Gas pump handles are swarming with loads of bacteria and viruses. They have been identified as the dirtiest surface Americans encounter on the way to work, according to a recently released study by Kimberley-Clark Professional, a unit of personal hygiene giant Kimberley-Clark Corp.

A team of hygienists test-swabbed hundreds of surfaces in U.S. cities to see what objects we touch everyday, that breed the worst kinds of bacteria and viruses. These swabs were taken in big cities such as Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

Gas pumps turned out to be number one on the list, as breeding grounds for all sorts of filthy bacteria and bugs. Other top foul offenders not far down the list included parking meters, kiosks, crosswalk buttons, vending machine buttons, escalator rails, ATM buttons and vending machine buttons in shopping malls.

Testers analyzed swabs of all the analyzed surfaces for levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which signals the presence of animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast or mold cells. The strikingly high levels found on surfaces like gas pump handles suggest they can easily be transmitting all kinds of illness, researchers said.

Think twice before grabbing that gas pump

No one ever takes the time to clean gas pump handles for one, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are dangerously filthy. Consider then how many people touch that same gas pump handle on a daily basis. There is no telling what types of illness-causing germs are swarming on these handles, just waiting for another surface to be transferred to, such as your hands. In fact, germs from people’s hands can transfer seven times before leaving the skin.

How to protect yourself

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have much of a choice — we HAVE to fill our cars up with gas. So how do we protect ourselves from these nasty bugs? If you’re thinking hand sanitizer is the obvious fix, think again.

NN published an article last year about a study done by the University of Virginia (UV) that found hand sanitizers do practically nothing to prevent the transmission of viruses like influenza and rhinovirus, a major cause of the common cold (…).

Most hand sanitizers are also loaded with toxic chemicals that get absorbed into the skin and can cause other health problems. Ultimately they will not protect you from getting sick.

A better way to avoid the germ overgrowth on gas pump handles and other dirty surfaces (thus avoiding viral and bacterial infections) is to use paper towels when grabbing and holding gas pump handles, or carry around disposable latex gloves to protect your hands.

Wash your hands with antibacterial soap right after filling your car up with gas and also be sure to take plenty of natural vitamin C and vitamin D on a regular basis.

Eating powerful superfoods like garlic, and drinking plenty of clean water will also help you build your immunity in order to protect you from the nasty illness-causing bacteria on dirty surfaces.