Airport Security Bins Carry More Viruses Than an Airport Toilet
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
It’s no surprise that airports might not be the most hygienic places on earth. From bare feet in the security line to crowded terminal gates, there are plenty of viruses lingering around that you should be mindful of.
When it comes to the dirtiest parts of an airport, though, a new study found that the plastic bins at airport security checkpoints carry the most germs — even more than toilets.
A group of pandemic experts from the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare swabbed a variety of the most-touched surfaces at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL) in Finland during the winter of 2016 and found high concentrations of viruses. They published their findings in the BMC Infectious Disease Journal, and the results will have you packing extra hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in your carryon.
Not only were the plastic bins crawling with viruses, the researchers also discovered evidence of viruses on 10% of all the surfaces they tested. These included shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children’s play areas and in the air.
“The new findings support preparedness planning for controlling the spread of serious infectious diseases in airports. The results also provide new ideas for technical improvements in airport design and refurbishment,” said Niina Ikonen, a virology expert from the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare in a statement.
Rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, was detected the most. The researchers also found traces of the influenza A virus. Swabs of toilet surfaces did not reveal any respiratory viruses.
“People can help to minimize contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a handkerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times but especially in public places,” said Jonathan Van Tam, a Professor of Health Protection at the University’s School of Medicine in the statement. “These simple precautions can help prevent pandemics and are most important in crowded areas like airports that have a high volume of people travelling to and from many different parts of the world.”
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.