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    4. New Study Compares Jobs Germ by Germ

    New study compares professions germ by germ to determine “germiest” job

    OAKLAND, Calif., (February 15, 2006) − Finally a little retribution this tax season. Your accountant is being audited.
    In another installment of “Germs in the Workplace,” researchers led by the University of Arizona’s Dr. Charles Gerba set out to compare whether some professions are truly “germier” than others. What they found put accountants in the top germ bracket and publicists and lawyers in the bottom bracket. According to the researchers, the bacteria levels in accountants’ offices were nearly seven times higher than in lawyers’ offices.
    “College students may want to reconsider their majors based on these results,” joked Dr. Gerba. “TV producers, consultants, and lawyers ranked on the low end of the germ spectrum.” In the number one spot were teachers, a finding that didn’t surprise Dr. Gerba’s researchers. “This is clearly one test on which teachers would not like to receive such ‘high marks’,” added Dr. Gerba. “But then again, when your officemates are children, it is no surprise that classroom surfaces are off the germ charts.”

    Cleaning Up On the Job
    The study, which was funded by The Clorox Company, found that the phones, desks and keyboards regularly used by teachers, accountants and bankers harbored nearly two to twenty times more bacteria per square inch than other professions. Phones ranked as the #1 home for office germs, followed by desks, keyboards and computer mice. In a change since the researchers first began tracking “Germs in the Workplace” in 2002, bacteria presence on office surfaces overall appears to have decreased, in some cases by nearly five times the initial count, Dr. Gerba said.
    “We were pleased to find a decrease in bacteria levels. Perhaps people are becoming more aware of germs in their office and doing something about it,” said Gerba.


    Study Highlights
    For the testing, samples were collected in fall 2005 from private offices and cubicles in office buildings located in Tucson, AZ and Washington, DC. A total of 616 surfaces were tested and analyzed at the University of Arizona laboratories.
    • Germiest Jobs – ranked from most germy to least germy
    1. Teacher
    2. Accountant
    3. Banker
    4. Radio DJ
    5. Doctor
    6. Television Producer
    7. Consultant
    8. Publicist
    9. Lawyer

    Job Description: Surface Stats
    • Telephone
    o Most germy: Teachers
    o Least germy: Publicists
    • Desks
    o Most germy: Accountants
    o Least germy: Lawyers
    • Computer keyboard
    o Most germy: Teachers
    o Least germy: Bankers
    • Computer mouse
    o Most germy: Teachers
    o Least germy: TV producers
    • Pens
    o Most germy: Accountants
    o Least germy: Lawyers

    As people spend more time at their desks, germs find plenty to snack on. According to a recent American Dietician Association survey, 57 percent of workers snack at their desks at least once a day. More than 75 percent of workers “only occasionally” clean their desks before eating; 20 percent never do, the survey found.
    “Desks are really bacteria cafeterias,” said Dr. Gerba. “They’re breakfast buffets, lunch tables and snack bars, as we spend more and more hours at the office.”

    Although Dr. Gerba’s new research measures bacteria level differences among professions, his previous “Germs in the Workplace” studies have looked at the presence of viruses within the workplace. In one study, Dr. Gerba and his researchers found that an infected person can leave a trail of viruses on every surface they touch − and viruses can survive on surfaces for up to three days.
    Dr. Gerba recommends frequent hand-washing and using disinfecting wipes daily on surfaces in your cubicle or office to kill illness-causing germs. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes kill 99.9 percent of the surface germs that can cause cold and flu.

    About Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
    Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes make it easy to clean and disinfect in one easy step. Safe to use on most hard, non-porous surfaces, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are pre-moistened and ready to use – follow directions for disinfecting and just wipe, toss and be done. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes kill 99.9 percent of the germs (Influenza A2 virus) that cause flu symptoms, as well as the bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella choleraesuis) commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms. To help decrease the spread of surface germs throughout a typical workday, use disinfecting wipes (enough for surfaces to remain visibly wet) daily on desks, computer mouse and keyboards, doorknobs, and telephones where germ levels continue to build up throughout the day.
    Clorox® and Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes are registered trademarks of The Clorox Company.
    Always read and follow precautions and directions before use.

    # # #

    Contact: Vicki Friedman, The Clorox Company,, (510) 208.4271
    Mary Seltzer, Ketchum,, (415) 984.2235

    - Updated: February 15, 2006

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