by Markham Heid
It’s a wonder your hand doesn’t melt off every time you top off your car’s gas tank! Roughly 71 percent of pump handles test positive for illness-spreading germs, according to tests conducted by scientists at Kimberly-Clarke (the company that makes Kleenex and a host of sanitary products).
The testers swabbed a range of frequently groped public objects in five cities, looking specifically for adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which marks the presence of bacteria or germs. An ATP level of 300 or higher means an object has a high probability of spreading illness.
The scientists found that gas pump handles narrowly out-germ’d mailbox handles, which were contaminated 68 percent of the time. Escalator rails, ATM buttons, and parking meters were also pretty gross.
The advice here is obvious: If you can’t avoid touching one of these surfaces, make sure to wash your hands or rub on a hand sanitizer afterward.