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Handbag nasties

Published: 4:45PM Wednesday August 12, 2009 Source: Fair Go

Reporters:  Hannah Wallis, Mary-Jane Aggett and Ruwani Perera

The Fair Go team decided to test what germs three brand new bags picked up during the course of a normal week. 

We were looking for bacteria like pseudomonas, which cause eye infections; staphylococcus aurous, which can give you serious skin infections and salmonella or e-coli - both nasty illnesses that cause stomach upsets.

We looked at the bags of busy mums - at the park, at children's birthday parties, at the mall toilets, in fast food restaurant rest rooms and out in the pubs and bars to see just what nasties could be picked up.  We then sent the bags off to a laboratory to have them tested.

The overall bacterial count on our handbags was around 3-4000.  Sounds a lot, but the lab tells us that's not super-high.  We didn't have any of the real nasties like listeria or salmonella, but the fabric bag did have a higher level of bacteria.

What the test did do though was made us think about where we put our bags in the course of the day. 

Our handbags go where people and sometimes animals have walked, sat, sneezed, coughed, spat, and well, you know the rest.    

So, treat your handbag as you would a pair of shoes.  Don't put bag on tables, countertops or desks. 

It won't hurt to give your handbag a regular wipe down with an antibacterial product from time to time and leather or vinyl handbags tended to be cleaner than cloth or material bags.

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