Do you take a public-utility vehicle to school or work every day like millions of other Filipinos? If you do, have you ever wondered how much germs are present in these vehicles?
Consumer goods company Procter & Gamble has looked into the different types of public transportation in Metro Manila, and the varying degrees of dirt found in them. The test revealed that some vehicles have contamination levels higher than those of trash bin covers or toilet bowl lids. Focusing on handle bars and vehicles traveling along EDSA, the test is an informal assessment and may only be used as a simple basis.
It does show some interesting figures. To measure the contamination level, P&G used a luminometer, a device that measures adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the universal energy molecule found in all animal, plant, bacteria, yeast, and mold cells. When ATP is brought into contact with the luminometer, light is emitted in direct proportion to the level of contamination of the sample. Readings are measured in RLU (relative light units).
A reading of 500 RLU and below means that the item surface is clean; 501-999 means that caution is needed; and 1,000 and above means it is dirty. The higher the reading, the more contamination is present, which means that disease-causing microorganisms can possibly come in contact with the commuters.
The table below summarizes the test results of the PUVs. Surprisingly, among these public modes of transportation, only the MRT had a reading of "clean." To put these numbers in perspective, P&G also revealed the RLU readings of other objects.
|Vehicle or object||Luminometer reading (RLU)|
|Trash bin cover||2,612|
|Living room floor||1,609|
|Toilet bowl rim||711|
The contamination levels of the PUVs are affected by different factors such as air pollution, human contact, and frequency of cleaning practices by the operators or owners, among others.
How about the interior of your car? Do you think your car will pass the luminometer test?