Airport security bins are gross as hell, according to a new study


Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom swabbed a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during the winter of 2016.

The plastic trays - used at airport checkpoints around the globe and touched by millions of passengers - have been found to harbor a variety of germs, according to researchers in Europe.

Researchers with the University of Nottingham and Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare found plastic trays used at airport security checkpoints host the highest level of viruses at airports.

"These boxes typically cycle with high frequency to subsequent passengers, and are typically seized with a wide palm surface area and strong grip", they wrote in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Other places that also came up as germ hotspots in the report were shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children's play areas and obviously in the air.

Next time you go through airport security, it might be worth washing your hands afterward.

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A survey's found these trays are where diseases are most likely to lurk at airports. They explain that there are several "cleaning agents, household (antibacterial) wipes and anti-viral tissues" that can kill these cold viruses and even the flu virus and reduce the risk of "indirect contact transmission" that occurs through coming in contact with a contaminated surface. Out of the eight trays that were tested with a nylon swab, 50 per cent detected respiratory viruses on the surface, which included adeno, influenza A, rhinovirus and human corona.

Ironically, they could not find any evidence of viruses on the toilet surfaces.

The study stated since the trays are virtually used by all the passengers, "they have the potential to be especially problematic if a severe pathogen with an indirect transmission mechanism were to pose a threat for global spread".

Experts concluded that hand washing and careful coughing hygiene are crucial to the control of contagious infections in public areas with high volumes of people passing through.

Virology expert Niina Ikonen from the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare said: 'The presence of microbes in the environment of an airport has not been investigated previously.