Do Reusable 3D Glasses Need a Clean-up?

A Good Housekeeping study found staph germs on 3D glasses -- should you worry?

ByABC News
June 8, 2010, 2:34 PM

June 9, 2010— -- 3D movie glasses make you feel like you can reach out and touch the action, but you may be making contact of a different kind when you wear them -- with the germs of those who wore or handled the glasses before you.

Though most cinemas say the glasses are cleaned in between uses, Good Housekeeping tested glasses at seven theaters in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area and found that not one of them was sterile.

"We're always looking for things that might be of interest to our readers," says Carolyn Forte, director of home appliances and cleaning products at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. "Given the popularity of 3D movies like 'Avatar,' we thought this was something we should look into."

Requests for comment on this issue were not immediately returned by the National Association of Theater Owners.

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested seven pairs of movie theater 3D glasses, both wrapped in plastic and unwrapped, and found a number of germs, including those causing conjunctivitis, skin infections, food poisoning, sepsis and pneumonia.

One was even contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, the most common cause of staph infections.

Magazine staff was "shocked" by these results, Good Housekeeping editor-in-chief Rosemary Ellis said in a press release.

"We expected to find general bacteria -- nothing is sterile, but staph is not something to take lightly," Forte says.

"We're not saying that these glasses will make you sick, but kids touch the glasses, touch their eyes and mouths -- the potential is there," she adds.

But are these findings actually cause for alarm, or just more fodder for germophobes? put the question to germ experts.