Using Smart Devices at Emory University

There are security and safety issues associated with the use of smart devices at Emory. Provided below is a list of safety issues[1] associated with using smart devices, specifically in research laboratories, and ways to mitigate these.

Safety Issue 

Recommendation to mitigate risk 


  • Electronics can bring contamination to your sterile environment – surface decontaminate the device.
  • Electronics can transfer microbes or other contaminants to your household – surface decontaminate the device and wash hands.

Distraction to self and others

  • Mute your phone.
  • Avoid personal conversations.

Risk of explosion

  • Be cautious when using the smart device near highly flammable solvents with low flashpoints.

 A few stats related to your smart device: 

  • On average, there are 25,000 bacteria per square inch on your device.
  • 92% of devices have bacteria on them[3].
  • Simple cleaning with disinfectant wet wipe with chlorhexidine digluconate and triclosan reduces contamination[3].

Our take home message:

  • Understand how microbes are transmitted and the type of research conducted in the lab to prevent you from contaminating your smart device.
  • Follow good microbiological practices to avoid contaminating areas within the lab and public zones. Periodic cleaning of mobile phones with disinfectants or hand cleaning detergents, as well as frequent handwashing, has been encouraged as a means of disrupting any potential disease transmission.
  • See something, say something (to your supervisor or contact EHSO). Safety and security are everyone’s responsibility. 



[3] [Koscova J., et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018]

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