Teachers 'Ace' Workplace Germ Test

February 17, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Many may have suspected that teaching is a dirty job, but now there is some proof to back that up.

A study by the University of Arizona’s Dr. Charles Gerba funded by The Clorox Company found that the phones, desks and keyboards regularly used by teachers, accountants and bankers harbor two to 20 times more bacteria per square inch than other professions. Teachers, accountants and bankers were ranked in the top three spots in that order. Clorox markets numerous home and workplace cleaning products.

According to the researchers, the bacteria levels in accountants’ offices were nearly seven times higher than in lawyers’ offices with attorneys being ranked in the ninth spot in the Gerba study.

According to a Clorox news release , phones ranked as the number one repository for office germs, followed by desks, keyboards and computer mice. In a change since the researchers first began tracking “Germs in the Workplace” in 2002, bacteria presence on office surfaces overall appears to have decreased, in some cases by nearly five times the initial count.

Gerba said no one should be surprised that educators scored so highly on this “test.” “This is clearly one test on which teachers would not like to receive such ‘high marks’,” he commented. “But then again, when your officemates are children, it is no surprise that classroom surfaces are off the germ charts.”

For the testing, samples were collected in fall 2005 from private offices and cubicles in office buildings located in Tucson, Arizona and Washington DC. A total of 616 surfaces were tested and analyzed at the University of Arizona laboratories.

The ranking of the germiest Jobs – from most germy to least germy – featured:
1. Teacher
2. Accountant
3. Banker
4. Radio DJ
5. Doctor
6. Television Producer
7. Consultant
8. Publicist
9. Lawyer