Germ Warfare

A new study by University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba (funded by the Clorox company) answers the question that no working stiff really wants answered: What is the germiest profession? (Teachers, accountants and bankers round out the top three of gross, if you really must know.) Gerba stopped by the offices of PopSci the other day and offered to test some of the work surfaces with a device that looks for metabolic activity. The idea was to determine if we degenerate journalists are as filthy as we're made out to be in the movies. Turns out, we are. The copier's "Start" button was a cesspit of bacteria, and I'm never touching the editor-in-chief's door-handle again. The toilet seats in the ladies' room? Pretty clean! As for my desk…I'm not saying anything except I attacked it with disinfectant right after I showed my esteemed guest to the door. —Martha Harbison