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Your mobile phone may harbor more bacteria than a public restroom

Thursday, January 16, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: mobile phones, bacteria, public restrooms

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(NaturalNews) Innovators presenting at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas claim to have come up with a new way to make mobile phones safer. No, we are not talking about ionizing radiation here -- the idea is to kill all the germs that are likely harboring on the electronic companions of millions of people, which a recent study found are typically filthier than a public restroom when it comes to contamination with pathogens.

Known as "PhoneSoap," the $50 device is said to use ultraviolet radiation to destroy the DNA of any bacteria that might be living on the surface of a mobile phone. Company co-founder Dan Barnes, speaking to a large audience of listeners, stated that the innovative device offers a simple and inexpensive way to keep mobile phones sanitary, and it does this while simultaneously recharging them.

Smartphones are "always warm [and] stored in dark places," he said, which means ideal conditions for the promotion of bacterial growth. Citing a study which found that mobile phones are up to 18 times dirtier than public bathrooms, Barnes made the argument for the widespread use of his breakthrough device, which came to fruition as the result of a successful "Kickstarter" campaign.

"The UV-C light is only on for 3-5 minutes at a time and there is no heat or liquid involved so there is no risk of damaging your phone," he is quoted as saying by ITWire.com. "There is a UV-C light on the top and on the bottom of the box so that the UV rays surround your phone for complete sanitization."

Cited as a germicidal form of UV radiation, UVC radiation is different from UVA and UVB radiation in that it is short-wave as opposed to long-wave. Measuring at a wavelength of 254 nanometers (nm), UVC radiation possesses the unique ability to break down the molecular bonds of the DNA of microorganisms, which is why it is commonly used in water treatment, including in the purification of pool water.

"UVC wavelengths are absorbed by DNA and induce mutagenic photoproducts that cause damage similar to UVB," writes Wladyslaw Kowalski in his book, Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Handbook: UVGI for Air and Surface Disinfection. "UVC has the strongest genotoxic effects on DNA and directly damages DNA through base modifications."

For $500 you can clean your smartphone with advanced, NASA-developed hydrogen peroxide molecules

Also presented at the show was a similar, but far more expensive, device known as "CleanBeats," which reportedly uses "hydroperoxide catalytic molecules" to sanitize the surfaces of smartphones. With a retail price of $500, the CleanBeats device appears to be more of a novelty gadget for the rich than a practical tool for the general phone-using population, but it allegedly boasts a more impressive sanitizing technology.

CleanBeats "sanitizes, plays music and recharges two phones through a USB connection," explains an AFP press release published by Yahoo News. "The CleanBeats device is based on NASA technology, and will soon hit the market with a $499 price tag, said spokesman Dennis Rocha for the California-based startup."

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