Shoppers warned of mall germs

Nov. 25, 2011 at 2:44 PM
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NEW YORK, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Researchers in New York and elsewhere are warning shoppers to beware of the most germ-infested parts of the mall, including restroom sinks.

Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center, told malls are full of germs due to the large number of people who travel through the shopping centers and experts said the most germ-infested places in the mall include bathroom sinks, food court tables, escalator handrails, ATM keypads, toy stores, fitting rooms, gadget shops and makeup samples.

"Anywhere people gather is filled with bacteria and viruses, and a crowded shopping mall is a perfect example," Tierno said.

Charles Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, said bathroom sinks, especially the faucets and handles, are the worst place in the mall for those hoping to avoid germs, as they are often immediately handled after someone has touched something unclean.

"The sink area is a moist environment, so bacteria can survive longer there," he said.

The experts suggested shoppers bring their own disinfecting wipes to the mall to ensure the objects they touch are clear of bacteria and viruses.

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