OPINION: The Dirtiest Part Of An Airport May Be Pete Hegseth’s Hands.
As a former network news producer, there were times I felt like I lived in airports. I’m sure Fox News host Pete Hegseth also spends a lot of time in airports. So when he announced on Fox and Friends that he hasn’t washed his hands in 10 years, because “germs are not a real thing,” I immediately recalled a recent report tracking the dirtiest part of an airport. It’s not where you might expect.
The highest concentration of germs in an airport is not the restrooms. It’s where we place our hand luggage. Hand being the operative term here, because it’s those plastic security bins that virtually everyone handles, which have the highest concentration of germs. We can take all the vitamins we want, or “inoculate” oneself as Hegseth claims he does. (Though he said he “can’t see” germs, “therefore they’re not real,” so I’m confused how he inoculates himself with something he says doesn’t exist.)
Still, I’m not confused about handwashing. It is in fact the single most effective way to stay healthy. Unfortunately, Mr. Hegseth is not alone in his habits. Less than 40 percent of men and only about 60 percent of women bother to wash their hands after using the toilet.
Not washing hands means very real germs leave the loo with us, landing on credit cards, cell phones, computer keyboards, grocery carts, doorknobs, those airport security bins, and even wind up in our wallets. It turns out U.S. currency is a lovely cotton-linen blend, offering a comfortable environment for germs to settle in, offering a whole new definition of dirty money.
A 2017 study found hundreds of species of microorganisms on U.S. dollar bills. The most common ones caused acne. Plenty were harmless. But researchers also found microbes from mouths, vaginal bacteria, DNA from pets, and viruses. A 2002 study found that 94 percent of dollar bills tested by researchers had pathogens on them, including fecal matter. Traces of cocaine have also been found on 80 percent of dollar bills. A theory is that ATMs distribute dollars handled by dealers and users. read more