Watch Bands Get Dirty, Headlines Get Clickbaity

From a report published in Advances in Infectious Diseases by researchers at Florida Atlantic University, “Prevalence and Disinfection of Bacteria Associated with Various Types of Wristbands”:

Wristbands, often worn daily without routine cleaning, may accumulate potentially pathogenic bacteria. However, the quantity and taxonomy of bacteria found on the wristbands in this experiment show that there is a need for regular and popular sanitation of these surfaces. Generally, it was found that rubber and plastic wristbands had higher bacterial counts, while metal ones, especially gold and silver, had little to no bacteria. Bacteria found were common skin residents, of the genera Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas, and intestinal symbionts, like of the genera Escherichia. The ability of many of these bacteria to significantly affect the health of immunocompromised hosts indicates a special need for healthcare workers and others in hospital environments to regularly sanitize these surfaces. Common household disinfectants, such as Lysol Disinfectant Spray, 70% Ethanol, and Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar all proved at least somewhat effective on all materials (rubber, plastic, cloth, and metal), although antibacterial efficacy was significantly increased at two minutes compared to thirty seconds.

“Apple” appears 14 times in the report; all 14 are references to using apple cider vinegar as a cleanser. Yet here’s how the New York Post ran with it: “Apple Watch, Fitbit Wristbands Carry Shocking Levels of Bacteria: Experts”. Then 9to5Mac, crediting the Post with the scoop: “Your Apple Watch Band Is Likely Covered in Bacteria, New Study Says”.

Saturday, 19 August 2023