Researchers find potentially dangerous bacteria on smartwatch wristbands

Researchers find potentially dangerous bacteria on smartwatch wristbands
  • PublishedOctober 6, 2023

People are being warned about the hidden danger.

Researchers have found cloth, plastic and rubber smartwatch wristbands can create ideal environments for bacteria linked to staph infections and E.coli.

The study from Florida Atlantic University analysed 20 smartwatch wristbands worn by a mix of men and women made of materials like metal, leather, plastic, cloth and rubber.

They found near all the bands were contaminated, but those made of metals such as gold or silver harboured little to no bacteria.

Meanwhile, wristbands made of cloth had the most bacteria, followed by those made of plastic and rubber.

In the study, published in the journal of Advances in Infectious Diseases, researchers said it was because “porous and static surfaces tend to attract and be colonised by bacteria”.

The researchers found common bacteria on the bands was linked to very contagious staph infections, E.coli, which can cause food poisoning or pneumonia, as well as pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can lead to blood infections.

Staphylococcus bacteria, which can cause staph infections were detected on 85 per cent of wristbands, pseudomonas bacteria, which can cause blood infections or pneumonia on 30 per cent of bands, and E.coli bacteria on 60 per cent of them.

“Even at relatively low numbers, (they are) of public health significance,” the researchers said.

The subjects who had the most bacteria on their watches were those who worked with animals or attended the gym.

The researchers recommended using cleaning products with ethanol to disinfect their devices, finding they had a kill rate of more than 99.99 per cent.

They stated apple cider vinegar, which is often used as a household cleaning agent, was less effective.


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