A study by Kimberley-Clark Professional in the US found 71 per cent of petrol pump handles were contaminated with germs that were associated with high risk of illness.
This compares closely with mailbox handles (68 per cent), putting the two well clear of things like ATM buttons (41 per cent) vending machines (35 per cent) as the most highly contaminated items we come across regularly in life.
University of Arizona environmental microbiologist, Charles Gerba (affectionately known as Dr Germ), supported the research.
A team of hygienists conducted repeat swab tests on a range of commonly touched items using similar methods to those used by the food industry to monitor cleanliness levels to determine that fuel nozzles top the dirty list.
So what can motorists do to limit the potential harm of germs transmitted via fuel pump handles?
The answer is simple according to Dr Germ and other hygiene professionals: wash your hands after using fuel pumps, and maintain good hand hygiene throughout the day.