Mothers around the world have always told their children this universal truth-We live in a world of germs. That truth was right up there with being told never to run with scissors in your hand.  In that world of germs you will  never guess where they really survive and thrive in the daily life of the City. As reported by Monica Andrade in Mens’ Health, a handheld germ counter was used by that magazine’s editor to test the germ count of public surfaces in New York City including “a Starbucks door handle, a taxicab handle, a door knob at Grand Central Terminal, and a city-sponsored Internet kiosk. ” Using a tool that assesses germ contact based upon the bacterial and biological content on surfaces, a rating of 50 or over is something that “should not touch your food. ”
Which do you think is more germy-a hold bar on transit, or a city rental bike? The handlebars of that bike share are 45 times “less hygienic”  than the hold bars on the New York City subway. And you certainly shouldn’t have your hands touch food while riding that rental bike.
Here are the counts taken below.
1. Citi  Bikeshare handlebar – 1,512
2. Starbucks door handle – 1,090
3. LinkNYC Free Internet kiosk – 807
4. Taxi handle – 424
5. Grand Central door knob – 45
6. Subway hold bars – 35
The Chicago Tribune goes a step farther in identifying some things not normally thought of as being germy-escalator railings, shopping cart handles and gas pump handles.  While most bacteria is harmless, regularly washing hands is always a good thing to do.
Mom was indeed right.


  1. This articLe simply perpetuates the myth that all germs are dangerous and must be avoided at all costs. I believe that our societies germ phobia does us way more harm than good and is responsible for many autoimmune disorders and basically makes us unhealthy. There is lots of research that shows that early exposure to a variety of germs has lifelong health benefits. Here is a sample article
    We should embrace germs and love them. People should rush to use a citi-bike in order to get a good dose of life enhancing germs. Yet another benefit to add to the long list of benefits that cycling provides to society.

    1. We asked our pediatrician in NYC when it was “safe” to take our newborn (our first) on the subway with its relative nastiness. He was an old pro. He just shrugged his shoulders and said, “eh, kid’s gotta start building an immunity sometime.” And so she did.

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