THE TELEGRAPH, THE BBC (UK)
LONDON - That mindless -- and seemingless harmful -- act of leafing through waiting-room magazines can pose real health risks, according to National Health Service (NHS) officials in the UK.
Officials have warned dentists around the country that old magazines may be responsible for spreading bacteria and should be thrown out after just one week.
How much might be lost? That soothing sensation of pondering Jennifer Aniston's haircut circa 2004, or that surge of nostalgic anxiety (anxious nostalgia??) reading about Britney and Justin's rumored break-up...yes, it really is over.
It remains unclear whether this is good news for the beleagured print magazine industry...or the final move to an all (antisceptic) iPad future.
The NHS also asked dentists to stop using Blu-Tack, as they believe that its reuse could cause a cross-infection, and all seating cushions should be reupholstered, in order to comply with standards set by the NHS's regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Monica Symes, a dentist from Dorset, told the BBC, "It all seemed a bit over the top," when NHS officials advised against stocking old editions of Country Life and Gardeners' World.
Since April 2011, dental practices have been required to register with the CQC, which is responsible for carrying out inspections. Many dental hygiene workers have since complained of being bogged down in bureaucracy.
Dr John Milne, chairman of the British Dental Association's dental practice committee, told the Telegraph: "Providing magazines in waiting rooms for patients to read is a good way of helping them to relax and can ease the concerns of anxious individuals. Blu-Tack is often used to display posters that reinforce positive oral health messages or advise patients about the care that the practice provides."
However, the CQC has insisted that it has not definitively banned magazines from waiting rooms and has set no heavy-handed rules on the use of Blu-Tack.
Nevertheless, the magazine rules appears to be the latest tale of British bureaucracy. Watch below to see Australian comedian Steve Hughes taking a jibe at Britain's unhealthy obsession with health and safety regulations.