It's something just about every woman carries with them. While we may know what's inside our handbags, do you have any idea what's on the outside? Women carry handbags everywhere; from the office to public toilets to the floor of the car. Most women won't be caught without their handbags, but did you ever stop to think about where your handbag goes during the day.
'I drive a school bus, so my handbag has been on the floor of the bus a lot,' says one woman. 'I put my handbag in grocery shopping carts and on the floor of the bathroom stalls,' says another woman 'and of course in my home which should be clean.' We decided to find out if handbags harbor a lot of bacteria.
It turns out handbags are so surprisingly dirty, even the microbiologist who tested them was shocked. Microbiologist Amy Karen of Nelson Labs says nearly all of the handbags tested were not only high in bacteria, but high in harmful kinds of bacteria. Pseudomonas can cause eye infections, staphylococcus aurous can cause serious skin infections, and salmonella and e-coli found on the handbags could make people very sick. It's not always the 'restaurant food' that causes stomach distress.
In one sampling, four of five handbags tested positive for salmonella, and that's not the worst of it. 'There is fecal contamination on the handbags' says Amy. Leather or vinyl handbags tended to be cleaner than cloth handbags, and lifestyle seemed to play a role. People with kids tended to have dirtier handbags than those without, with one exception. The handbag of one single woman who frequented nightclubs had one of the worst contaminations of all. 'Some type of feces, or possibly vomit' says Amy.