Cloth Mass Transit Seats A Haven For Bacteria

by Christopher Paul on March 15, 2011

New Yorkers might wish the hard plastic seats of the Subway were more comfortable; I know I wish the seats were more plush sometimes. But after reading this report, I’m not so sure I’d want to give them up.

Researchers have found cloth seats in the BART system are a haven for bacteria – some antibiotic resistant.

The Bay Citizen commissioned Darleen Franklin, a supervisor at San Francisco State University’s biology lab, to analyze the bacterial content of a random BART seat. The results may make you want to stand during your trip.

Fecal and skin-borne bacteria resistant to antibiotics were found in a seat on a train headed from Daly City to Dublin/Pleasanton. Further testing on the skin-borne bacteria showed characteristics of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, the drug-resistant bacterium that causes potentially lethal infections, although Franklin cautioned that the MRSA findings were preliminary.

High concentrations of at least nine bacteria strains and several types of mold were found on the seat. Even after Franklin cleaned the cushion with an alcohol wipe, potentially harmful bacteria were found growing in the fabric.

Telecommuting never looked so better.

BART Seats: Where Bacteria Blossom – The Bay Citizen via Boing Boing

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