(CBS News) Be careful when you take that mug from the break room, a new study suggests. It may be teeming with germs.
According to a new study led by Dr. Charles Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, and sponsored by consumer product company Kimberly-Clark Professional, the dirtiest place in an office is not the bathroom, but in fact the break room.
The research was undertaken in conjunction with The Healthy Workplace Project, Kimberly-Clark Professional's efforts to help people stop the spread of germs in the workplace. It's worth noting Kimberly-Clark sells disinfecting cleaning products to offices and consumers.
Researchers swabbed 4,800 surfaces in office buildings that had more than 3,000 employees. They tested for levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule present in all animal, vegetable, bacterial, yeast and mold cells. The amount of ATP found on surfaces shows that objects have been contaminated by cells from any of these sources, the researchers said, suggesting that bacteria and viruses may flourish in these areas.
When the ATP device read 100 or more, the researchers said the object should probably be cleaned. But, if the device read 300 or more, that area was dirty and definitely needed to be sanitized.
What are the top five dirtiest ares in the office? Keep clicking to find out....