New research has found that 1 in 6 mobile phones are contaminated with fecal matter, most likely due to poor hand washing habits.

The research, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, was released over the weekend to call attention to Global Handwashing Day, which was 15 October in case you missed it.

People lie about their hygiene habits

The findings of the UK-wide study by scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London also reveal a tendency among Britons to lie about their hygiene habits.

Although 95 percent of people said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92 percent of phones and 82 percent of hands had bacteria on them, based on 390 samples taken from phones and hands in 12 cities visited by researchers. More than 1 in 7 hands and phones were found to be contaminated with harmful E. coli bacteria, which can survive on phones and hands for hours, especially in warmer temperatures.

E. coli is still an inherent danger

Val Curtis, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement: “This study provides more evidence that some people still don’t wash their hands properly, especially after going to the toilet. I hope the thought of having E. coli on their hands and phones encourages them to take more care in the bathroom – washing your hands with soap is such a simple thing to do but there is no doubt it saves lives."

Concerns about germy tech gear are nothing new. Some companies have even marketed products such as germ-free computer mice.  But with mobile phone sales booming (Apple says it sold more than 4 million new iPhone 4S phones over the weekend), and people frequently passing phones around to share pictures,  there’s no doubt that mobile phones are where the germiest action is these days.