Once, on a road trip pit stop, I did something appalling. I sat skin to seat on a gas station toilet.
It just happened, and I’d like to forget it. Everyone knows you’re supposed to hover over public toilet seats. Never sit on them. But recent years and many scientific studies have gone to prove that even toilet seats get stereotyped. “Cell phones are dirtier than toilet seats,” they say. But really, does that stop anyone from hovering?
Apparently even the things I touch every day, like the kitchen sponge and the remote control, are dirtier than toilet seats. Still, I can’t cut them any slack. I just won’t sit on one again. But science won’t give up.
A new study published in Open Medicine is making the bold claim that elevator buttons in hospitals contain more bacteria than their toilet seats do. Researchers swabbed 120 elevator buttons and 96 toilets in three different hospitals to prove this. That is dedication.
However, the types of bacteria they found on those icky buttons are not actually likely to make you sick. The bacteria had “low pathogenicity” which I guess is supposed to make it clean bacteria. They still need to do some extra layers of research, as this study was conducted during flu season. More people in the hospital than usual could have skewed results in favor of the toilet seat.
In the meantime, note to self, use elbow to push the elevator button.