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Sixth of Britain's cellphones have traces of poo on them

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One in every six mobiles in the UK has got traces of poo on it, according to a new study.

Scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Queen Mary, University of London, found that mobes were typically contaminated with faecal matter because people still didn't wash their hands properly with soap after going to the loo. (Or it could also be because people can't resist tweeting and playing Angry Birds while they're in the middle of a particularly stubborn bowel movement.)

The study, released ahead of Global Handwashing Day held on 15 October, also showed that the British tend to lie about their hygiene habits.

"Although 95 per cent of people said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92 per cent of phones and 82 per cent of hands had bacteria on them. Worryingly, 16 per cent of hands and 16 per cent of phones were found to harbour E coli – bacteria of a faecal origin," the study's canned statement said.

Researchers travelled to 12 cities in the UK to take samples and ask questions. They found that Brummies had the most contaminated phones, with 41 per cent of them carrying E coli, but the dirtiest hands were found on 28 per cent of Londoners.

"This study provides more evidence that some people still don't wash their hands properly, especially after going to the toilet," Dr Val Curtis from LSHTM said in the statement.

"I hope the thought of having E coli on their hands and phones encourages them to take more care in the bathroom - washing your hands with soap is such a simple thing to do but there is no doubt it saves lives."

Faecal bacteria can survive on people's hands and on surfaces for hours at a time, especially in warmer temperatures away from sunlight, and it's also easily transferable.

While E coli can result in nothing more than a mild stomach upset, it's also linked to fatal cases of food poisoning. Such an outbreak occurred in Germany last June, for instance. ®

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