Just as I suspected, gas pump handles are nasty

Gas pump in gas tank

Something you and I use all the time could make us sick.

Trained hygienists with a division of the Kimberly-Clark Corp. recently named gas pump handles as the filthiest surface that most of us touch on a regular basis.

How did they arrive at that conclusion?

They went to Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Dallas, and swabbed hundreds of surfaces, searching for the one with the highest risk for transmitting illness.

Gas pump handles won, beating out public mailbox handles, escalator rails and other surfaces to earn their top-dog germ status.

Admittedly, I come from a generation that rode bikes without helmets, drank water from the garden hose, stood on the front seat of Dad's Chevy Bel Air for trips to the grocery store and even played dodge ball in middle-school gym class.

Yet here I am, alive and sufficiently well enough to write this blog.

So I take a lot of these the-sky-is-falling, we're-all-doomed, everything-can-and-will-kill-you pronouncements with a grain of salt. I simply can't keep up with the ever-changing eggs-are-good-for-you, eggs-are-bad-for-you back and forth.

I also realize that Kimberly-Clark manufactures tissues, paper towels and hand sanitizers, so the more paranoid we get about germs, the more money it stands to make.

But I don't think that's reason to discount its findings about gas pumps.

I don't share Howard Hughes or Howie Mandel's obsession with germs or human contact, but I am one of those people who wrap the restroom door handle in a paper towel when pulling it open on my way out.

After my daily workout, I use the hand sanitizer provided by my gym.

I was relieved when my favorite grocery store began offering sanitary wipes next to the row of shopping carts, so I can now wipe off the handle before using it.

And I've carried a small container of hand sanitizer with me in the car for a couple of years now, just for cleaning my hands after pumping gas.

Call me crazy, but a spending a buck on a pocket-size container of hand sanitizer seems a small price to pay to protect my health.

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