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Average ridesharing vehicles are 35,000 times germier than a toilet, study says

Uber Lyft
Posted at 9:47 AM, May 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-11 12:47:02-04

(KGTV) — Next time you hail an Uber or Lyft, maybe consider some hand sanitizer after touching that door handle.

That's because ride-sharing vehicles are on average about 35,000 times germier than a toilet seat, according to a new study by insurance provider Netquote. Ridesharing measured about 6,055,963 colony-colony forming units (CFU) compared to an average toilet with 171.61 CFU.

Rideshare vehicles were far ahead of rental cars and even taxis on the study's germ index, and worse than toothbrush holders, coffee reservoirs, and toilets. The worst areas in rideshare vehicles were seat belts, door handles, and window buttons, the study found.

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"In our rideshare vehicles, the window buttons were the worst when it comes to germs. On average, we found more than 5 million [colony-forming units]/sq. in. on the tiny buttons. The seat belts, too, held high levels of bacteria: more than 1 million CFU/sq. in.," the study says. "Interestingly, the door handles were the cleanest surface, with 1,810 CFU/sq. in. However, one study showed that the average car door handle holds 28 microorganisms per square inch – meaning the average rideshare door handle is 64 times germier."

The study compared three random ride-share cars, three taxis and three rental cars.

While not all germs are harmful, higher levels of some bacteria pose a risk.

The study's samples revealed the presences of bacillus (a type that can cause infections and food poisoning); gram-positive rods, including cocci (which is linked to skin infections, pneumonia, and blood poisoning); gram-negative rods (which tend to be harmful to humans); and yeast (which under the right conditions has the potential cause skin infections, especially in people with compromised immune systems).