Accountants’ Offices Have High Germ Levels

The latest installment of Germs in the Workplace indicates that the offices of accountants are in the top germ bracket, having nearly seven times the germ levels of lawyers’ offices. Only classrooms were found to have higher germ levels than accountants’ offices.

“TV producers, consultants, and lawyers ranked on the low end of the germ spectrum,” Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona and the study’s leading researcher 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.”

The study was sponsored and funded by Clorox Company. Samples were collected from 616 private offices and cubicles in Tucson, Arizona, and Washington, D.C. during the fall of 2005 and analyzed at the University of Arizona laboratories. The study compared germ levels of professions as well as surfaces within the profession’s offices. Results indicate that the “germiest” jobs are:

  1. Teacher
  2. Accountant
  3. Banker
  4. Radio DJ
  5. Doctor
  6. Television Producer
  7. Consultant
  8. Publicist
  9. Lawyer

Additionally, the telephones, computer keyboards and computer mouse of teachers and the desks and pens of accountants had the highest levels of surface germs. The desks and pens of lawyers had the lowest levels of germs, as did the telephones of publicists, the computer keyboards of bankers and the computer mouse of TV producers. Dr. Gerba recommends frequent hand-washing and the daily use of disinfecting wipes on surfaces to kill illness causing germs, including those that can cause colds and the flu.

“Desks are really bacteria cafeterias,” Dr. Gerba says. “They are breakfast buffets, lunch tables and snack bars, as we spend more and more hours at the office.”

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