Use a Gas Pump? Wash Your Hands

Drivers are getting more than just gas at the filling station. It turns out that gas pump handles are some of the dirtiest public surfaces in America, according to a study from the hygiene company Kimberly-Clark Corp.

After gas handles, other top germ offenders were: public mailboxes, escalator rails, ATM key pads, parking meters, kiosks, crosswalk buttons and the buttons you push on a vending machine in a mall.

Scientists took samples from hundreds of surfaces in six cities nationwide: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia. They found high levels of animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mold cells, which can make people ill.

Using hand sanitizer will reduce the number of germs on your skin, but proper hand-washing is more effective to prevent illness, health officials say.

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