Is your handbag a health hazard?
Thursday November 1, 2007 On the TODAY SHOW, Channel 9
Microbiologists have discovered high levels of germs and bacteria exist at the bottom of a handbag. Scientist Hannah Root joins TODAY to discuss how a hand bag could be a health hazard.
"New research conducted on ladies' handbags found faecal bacteria that would normally be found on the floor of a restroom at the bottom of a ladies' handbag," reveals Ms Root. "They also found bacteria that can cause skin infections on the bottom of purses."
"The germs collected at the bottom of purses indicates that women are picking up a lot of other germs like cold viruses or viruses that cause diarrhoea," she says.
"We tested some handbags and found that the inside and the outside weren't very different in the results," she says. "Swabs from the insides of the bags appear to show more growth, with an assortment of gut bacteria, and bacteria from the skin. There also seems to be fungus which looks like it is from soil."
"Each bag will have different types of bacteria, it depends on the content of your bag," she says. "If you've got a dodgy lip gloss or un-packaged food it's going to cause more bacteria."
"Bacteria is everywhere," she says. "The key thing is to not have the bacteria get out of control. Empty your handbag on a regular basis."
"If you're worried some bags have de-attachable linings," suggests Ms Root. "Another suggestion is to shake out the contents of your bag every now and then and wash it down with a cloth."
Website: School of biotechnology