Airport security trays are full of germs
According to a new study of airport security trays at Helsinki-Vantaa airport, the security trays are full of germs, carrying respiratory virus pathogens among other things. According to the study the trays are dirtier than the airport toilets when it comes to germs.
The size of the study wasn't huge, it was based on 90 surface samples that included (but are not limited to) hand-carried luggage trays, buttons on the payment terminal at the pharmacy, plastic toy in the children's playground. But what it found was that 9 out of 90 samples contained germs. The various identified viruses were rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus, influenza. Out of all of the tested surfaces the plastic security screening trays seemed to pose the highest potential risk. For example, even the toilets didn't contain rhinovirus or influenza, but the trays did.
"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." -- Jonathan Van Tram, Professor of Health Protection, School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham
While it doesn't mean that now that you know it all, you'll get sick the next time you go to the airport, but it does show that having a hand sanitizer handy at the airport isn't the worst idea.
Based on some previous studies though, airplanes might not be much better than the security trays, especially when it comes to the tray tables and overhead air vents.
The study was conducted by a team of experts from the UK's University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare.