Leather or synthetic handbags are items people can rarely leave behind, and they come in different sizes and with health challenges. All researchers can see in bags are heaps of bacteria, mould and fungi. Bags are indispensible fashion item but with intended risk to human health as shown by research. Tests carried out by Initial Washroom Hygiene, United Kingdom, showed that one in five handbag handles is a breeding place for sufficient bacteria and are contaminated with more bacteria than the average toilet.
The tests revealed that leather handbags are prone to most bacteria as the spongy texture suits the conditions for bacteria to grow and spread. The research added that the dirtiest item in the average handbag is hand cream, but lipstick and mascara packets were found to be little better. Half of surfaces in kitchens, draining boards, handle and buttons of microwave and fridges are contaminated by dangerously high levels of coliforms – the bacteria present in faeces that can lead to outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease. These things come in contact with bags and are reportedly severe to our health.
The researchers suggest that women should regularly clean their hands and bags with antibacterial wipes or gel to prevent cross-contamination. Peter Barratt, technical manager at Initial Washroom Hygiene, said: “Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces, so the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high, especially as bags are rarely cleaned.” He added that once these germs are on the bags, they could easily be transferred via hands onto other surfaces. The researchers suggest that women should regularly clean their hands and bags with antibacterial wipes or gel to prevent cross-contamination. “Regular hand sanitisation is essential to prevent the presence of bacteria in the first place and thorough cleaning of bags is recommended to prevent the build-up of contamination,” Barrat said.
The weight of your bag also speaks volume on your health. Many people live out of their handbags with wallets, phones, keys, and make-up in there and the vogue of iPad, mobile phones, digital cameras and much more. These items increased the demand for bigger bags that are said to weigh down the carriers.
Study has shown that bulging bags and purse people load around day after day are ruining our neck and spine. Gerard Clum, president of Life Chiropractic College in West Hayward, California, United States, explained: “If it is necessary to carry all of your gadgets in a large handbag, it is important to reduce the weight of the handbag to no more than one to two pounds. Heavy, cumbersome bags may leave you with back, neck, and shoulder pain, even headaches and can aggravate or accelerate arthritic conditions.” One study suggests your purse should not weigh more than 15 per cent of your body weight.
In other words, the best way to keep avoiding pain on the back or body is to avoid heavy bags. He recommends using a bag with two shoulder straps or pulling a carrying case with wheels if you must take heavier items with you but it is important to know that when it comes to health, less is always better. “It’s important to find ways to stay healthy while staying in fashion,” Clum advised.