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Fuel pumps a health risk: study

A NEW study suggests you might want to wear gloves the next time you fill up your car - and not just because you might get some stinky petrol or diesel on your hands.

Research by US healthcare company Kimberly-Clark Professional has found that 71 per cent of fuel pump handles are "highest on the list of breeding grounds for illness-causing germs".

The research was conducted in six major cities across the US, with scientists swabbing hundreds of surfaces that people interact with on a day-to-day basis to determine which were the most bacteria-ridden.

The findings showed fuel-pump handles were considered a high health risk, followed by public mailboxes (68 per cent were found to be breeding grounds for germs), escalator rails  (43 per cent) and the buttons on ATMs (41 per cent).

Other surfaces that ranked high on the germ-o-meter included parking meters (40 per cent), pedestrian crossing buttons (35 per cent) and vending machines.

The report was headed by professor of microbiology Dr Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, who says that ignorance over the number of things people touch on a day to day basis is one of the main factors in germs spreading.

"People do not realize the amount of contamination they are exposed to going to work each day and doing everyday things like filling their gas tank or riding on an escalator," Dr Gerba was quoted as saying in a statement.

"Washing and drying your hands frequently throughout the day can help prevent your risk of getting sick or spreading illness around the office," he said.


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