The only place one would consider finding fecal matter would be the toilet, and possibly somewhere else in a restroom. However, numerous reports and studies from around the United States show that fecal matter may be present in the least likely of places. While you might not actually see evidence of fecal matter in any of these reported locations, you may want to exercise a bit more caution because you never know what type of germs you'll find in these common areas.
According to an article by CNN, researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reported that 1 in 6 cellphones tested in the United Kingdom were contaminated with fecal matter. How does fecal matter end up on a person's cellphone? Well, poor hygienic practices, like not properly washing one's hands or bringing a cellphone while one sits on the toilet are likely causes to start with.
2. Soda Drinking Fountains
In a report from the International Journal of Food Microbiology, traces of coliform bacteria were found in various soda fountains in the United States. Coliform is a form of bacteria found in fecal matter, and is often used as a basis for unhealthy sanitary levels for water treatment. The soda fountains were also found to have traces of other bacteria that could lead to staph infections or gastric issues. Just think twice before using a soda fountain at a highway rest-stop.
3. Tanning Beds
Before you lie down in a tanning bed for your next tanning session, make sure it has been properly cleaned. People who make use of these tanning beds often remove all articles of clothing to prevent tan lines. This creates the possibility that they may be leaving unwanted germs and bacteria for the next person. In a study by the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, traces of bacteria that is commonly found in fecal matter was found on several tanning beds tested at various salons in New York. Unless you can verify that the salon you frequent disinfects their tanning beds after every use, you might want to stick with spray tanning or some other form of self-tanning.
4. Play Areas
The ball-pit is an American staple of the classic, fast food play area. Unfortunately, some of the little tykes who enjoy playing in these pits haven't been properly potty-trained, and that can lead to traces of fecal matter where you take your child to play. In a report from ABC News, a concerned mother spent her own money to have play areas from popular fast food chains tested. These test results showed that 8 out of the 9 tested showed traces of fecal matter.
Many people are beginning to learn that one of the dirtiest items in the household can be found in the kitchen - the sponge. A sponge is excellent for absorbing things, even germs and bacteria. So how could fecal matter wind up on your kitchen sponge? All it takes is one person who hasn't properly washed his or her hands after using the restroom to touch a wet sponge. To learn more about kitchen germs, see Hidden Germs In The Kitchen.
6. Computer Keyboards
If you practice proper hygiene at home or at the office, you need not worry about finding fecal matter on your keyboard. But in a public area, like the library, use the computer keyboards with caution. In an article from the Seattle Times, students at the University of Washington found fecal coliform on campus keyboards. Public keyboards that are frequently used have a high risk of being contaminated by fecal matter.
7. Movie Theater Seats
While you wouldn't expect it, there is a chance that the seats at your local movie theater may be contaminated by fecal matter. Again, this is due to poor hygienic practices and theater attendees who do not wash their hands properly after using the restrooms. Movie theaters should regularly wash and sanitize their seats and armrests to eliminate germs and bacteria. If you want to learn more about what might be lurking inside a movie theater, check out 6 Health Hazards Of A Dirty Movie Theater.
8. Public Swimming Pools
All it takes is one accident and improper sanitation and maintenance to contaminate a public swimming pool. Fecal matter and improper chlorination can lead to outbreaks of stomach bugs and other medical conditions caused by the bacteria and viruses floating around the pool. Not convinced? Then be sure to read: Are Public Swimming Pools Really That Dirty?
9. Shopping Carts
Have you ever wondered if the shopping carts you use at your favorite grocery stores are ever cleaned? There is a good chance they aren't and all those years of use and all those hands that have touched them make traces of fecal matter on shopping carts an inevitability. Preventative measures to protect yourself from germs or bacteria on shopping carts include wearing disposable gloves or wiping the push handles with antibacterial wipes.