Study: Gas pump handles breed bacteria, viruses

October 25, 2011 2:06:32 PM PDT
Just when you thought filling up at the gas pump couldn't get any more painful, it turns out gas pump handles are the filthiest surface Americans encounter on the way to work.

A team of hygienists swabbed hundreds of surfaces around six US cities to see what everyday objects are breeding grounds for the worst bacteria and viruses.

The top offenders: Gas pumps, handles on public mailboxes, escalator rails and ATM buttons.

Authors of the study by Kimberly Clark Professional say germs from people's hands can transfer seven times before leaving the skin.

The lesson? Wash your hands as soon as you get to work.