Break the Chain Pick Your Seat Carefully

Created 1/30/2002 (1/30/2002) E-mailed horror stories about unknown hazards in public places abound. This chain would have you believe that the London subways are the most unclean and disgusting places known to man. Unlike most that come as stories of tragedies or near-tragedies that happened to a friend of a friend, this chain appears as the results of a scientific study, thus making it more believable, but no more true.


During Autumn of 2000, a team of scientists at the Department of Forensics at University College London removed a row of passenger seats from a Central Line tube carriage for analysis into cleanliness. Despite London Underground's claim that the interior of their trains are cleaned on a regular basis, the scientists made some alarming discoveries.

The analysis was broken down. This is what was found on the surface of the seats:

  • 4 types of hair sample (human, mouse, rat, dog)
  • 7 types of insect (mostly fleas, mostly alive)
  • vomit originating from at least 9 separate people
  • human urine originating from at least 4 separate people
  • human excrement
  • rodent excrement
  • human semen

When the seats were taken apart, they found:

  • the remains of 6 mice
  • the remains of 2 large rats
  • 1 previously unheard of fungus

It is estimated that by holding one of the armrests, you are transferring, to your body, the natural oils and sweat from as many as 400 different people.

It is estimated that it is generally healthier to smoke five cigarettes a day than to travel for one hour a day on the London Underground.

It is far more hygienic to wipe your hand on the inside of a recently flushed toilet bowl before eating, than to wipe your hand on a London Underground seat before eating.

It is estimated that, within London, more work sick-days are taken because of bugs picked up whilst travelling on the London Underground than for any other reason (including alcohol).

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The, the official web site of the London Underground subway system, has issued a press release that decries this "study" as a hoax:

"A fictitious email is circulating purporting to contain details of a "study" carried out on Tube seats.

"The work is alleged to have been carried out by the Department of Forensics at University College London in autumn 2000, and involved the removal of "a row of passenger seats from a Central Line Tube carriage for analysis into cleanliness".

"This email is now in wide circulation but is a hoax.

"The facts are:

  • "University College London doesn't have a Department of Forensics,

  • that no such research has been carried out,

  • and the claims are a complete work of fiction."

Simple enough. Break this chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: To Your Health
References: None

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