Scientists at Manchester University of Science and Technology have asked that the phrase "Clean as a Whistle" be changed to Clean as Anything Other than a Whistle after a month long study into the bacteria that grow inside whistles.
"Whistles are reservoirs of disease and bacteria," said Russ Vhighe, immunologist at UMIST. "We examined several thousand whistles belonging to a wide variety of people from referees to party goers. We have found that whistles carry several strains of viruses and bacteria such as E Coli, and H Pelori."
As well as the disease carrying bacteria, seven bacteria new to science were discovered, plus one virus that has been named Vhighe Russ after Vhighe who discovered it.
"We strongly suggest that people do not share whistles and that they regularly sterilise them by using alternate solutions of hydrogen peroxide and sulphuric acid," said Vhighe. "This is effective at removing approximately eighty percent of the bacteria that live in whistles."
Other suggestions are that people who must use whistles as part of their job, such as traffic police and sport officials, instead learn to whistle piercingly without artificial aids. Builders and milkmen are being drafted in to teach whistling to those that need to. Those that are unable to whistle loudly enough should never use somebody else's whistle.
"We have seen swine flu transmitted through whistles," said Vhighe. "There was even one whistle that was such a major health hazard we had to destroy it in an incinerator or risk passing cholera and dysentery on to the next person who handled it."