I have several colleagues who either live in or visit Japan frequently, and the other day one of them noticed something interesting — a second roll of paper — in their bathroom stall at Narita International Airport. The smaller roll of paper says “Welcome to Japan” then uses pictographs to inform you what to do with it… wipe your smart phone. The new small disinfectant wipes are part of the “Swipe Before You Wipe” campaign.
They make a good point.
My current job is in a training center for health care workers, so the topic of germs and bacteria transmission comes up a lot. The common thought is that your smart phone carries 10 times more germs than toilets. I’ve seen the studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other international bodies backing up the claim. A few years ago at the CDC, cell phones were tracked down as the transmission source for a strain of anthrax getting out of the lab.
You also might want to remember that you touch your door handles, toilet handles, and dozens of other things transferring germs to your phone, which you then hold up to your face (if you use it to, you know, talk). Yuck.
I know Japan, they tend to be crazy about clean. They wear surgical masks in public, have toilets with more buttons than the space shuttle, and shower before they get in the bath. But this, despite its eccentricity, is a brilliant idea. The campaign is even catching on in Britain with a partnership with Vodafone. I know that America is a little slow on the uptake at times, but we think this is something we should adopt for all our sakes.
We know the voice-over on the video is a little weird, but you get the point.