Are Cell Phones Germ Breeders?

A British microbiologist claims the average cell phone carries more germs per square inch than doorknobs, the soles of shoes, even toilet seats

The Daily Mail newspaper quotes Joanna Verran, a professor of microbiology at Manchester Metropolitan University as saying, "Mobile phones are stored in bags or pockets, are handled frequently and held close to the face. In other words, they come into contact with more parts of our body and a wider range of bacteria than toilet seats. The phones (from which cultures were taken) contained more skin bacteria than any other object. This could be due to the fact that this type of bacteria increase in high temperatures and our phones are perfect for breeding these germs as they are kept warm and cozy in pockets, handbags and briefcases."

So, could the devices be a health hazard?

On The Early Show Friday, medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay noted that, of nothing else, the report is "creating a lot of buzz, like, 'Exactly what are we doing to ourselves with these cell phones? Are we transmitting germs? How big of a problem is it?'"

To put it in perspective, Senay said, "Germs are everywhere. They're on every doorknob; they're all over our bodies. We are colonized with them, including some germs that can be dangerous if we were to develop a weakened immune system.

"So, it really shouldn't be any surprise that our cell phones … would be great conduits for germs."