Healthy living

Is your keyboard a health hazard?

Dirty consoles attract mice at night

You may want to think twice about that mid-morning snack whilst working at the computer.

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has warned that mice are leaving droppings in computer keyboards as they search for crumbs of food in offices at night.

And having lunch or snacking at the computer only adds to the growing problem. One London office cleaning company told the RSC: "One example was a lady at one our client firms.

"She wondered why, given that she did not eat bread at her desk, seeds were coming out of the 'qwertyuiop' line in particular when she struck the keys. But investigations showed them to be mice droppings.

"There is evidence that in buildings with mice the little tinkers like to run along the keys and press down on them to get at the food crumbs left by people snacking while working.

"That is why it is so important to wash your hands before you eat food. Mice can go to some unpleasant places."

In order to highlight the importance of good office hygiene, the RSC is asking people to e-mail them images of the filthiest keyboards in the UK, and will award £300 to the person who sends the most revolting image.

Paul Gallagher, RSC spokesperson, said: "We are asking office workers to take shots of offensive keyboards and workstations and to email them to us at the RSC.

We will give £300 to the sender of the most awful image. However, we will not entertain any shots that smack of contrivance and will ask for a witness to the keyboard dirtiness.

"We do not need the names of the organisations at which the shots were taken and will not publish any identification of the place or the sender. Therefore we ask that shots do not have anything in them which might betray confidential information or identify the users or their employers."

This article was published on Wed 12 May 2010

Image © Robert Gubbins -

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