Germs: at a theater near you.


ABC's news magazine program, 20/20, recently investigated movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York and found theater seats to be highly contaminated with bacteria.

A news report says 20/20 swabbed several theaters in New York and Los Angeles, collecting 17 samples in total. They then sent the samples to New York University Professor of Microbiology, Phillip M. Tierno, Ph.D. to analyze.

Tierno found evidence of bacteria found in cattle and soil, as well as bacteria commonly found in human feces and yeast.

“You have to be aware that the armrest, the seat and other areas of the theater are contaminated with the public that sat before you,” Tierno told 20/20. “When you wear shorts or have open lesions in the skin, you might subject yourself to a risk of an infection.”

It's unclear how often theater seats are cleaned. The professor's advice?

“One of the things, when I’m eating popcorn, is not to touch the seats with your right hand,” he said. “If you’re going to hit the armrest, keep your hand in the air...always have a ‘good hand’ and a ‘bad hand.’”