'Dirty' gas pumps could make you sick

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 26 at 7:32 PM

SEATTLE – A new study suggests gas stations are pumping out more than fuel.
 
Hygienists with Kimberly Clark Professional say a majority of gas pumps also contain high levels of bacteria.
 
The study, by the hygiene company, was conducted in “high traffic areas” of six U.S. cities.  Testers used swabs on gas pumps, and other surfaces, which millions of Americans come in contact with every day.
 
They found 71 percent of pumps contained illness-causing bacteria.  A high percentage of mailbox handles, escalator rails, ATM buttons, parking meters, crosswalk buttons and vending machines also had contaminates on the surface.
 
“I guess I’m going to start washing my hands when I get home,” says Larry Grasdahl, Seattle resident.  He was filling up his car Tuesday night and admitted he’d never thought of catching a bug from the pump.  “This would be the last place I’d think of it.”
 
The researchers did the work as part of the company’s “Healthy Workplace Project” and said it stresses the importance of hand washing, or the use of hand sanitizer, as a way to combat bacterial transmission.

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