Doctors may soon be retiring their iconic white coats. A recent study at the University of Iowa revealed strong evidence that the coats, synonymous with elite medical professionals, are magnets for germs and bacteria.

“It is time to hang up the white coats because they are full of germs,” Art Caplan, a medical ethicist at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, said on Boston Public Radio Wednesday.

“People don’t wash them, particularly students. You know,  they are trying to eat and they are looking at that white coat and thinking I’m not taking that to the cleaner. The whole thing is terrible.”

Hospitals do not offer a convenient free laundry service for doctors to wash their coats, Caplan says. “I think it is a scandal.”

Caplan believes that the medical community is hesitant to change their attire because of the tradition and significance the coats hold.

“It is a comfort for patients, but I think they can get used to their doctors wearing short sleeved green scrubs, things that are less likely to get infected maybe made out of clothing that is more bacteria resistant.”

Listen to our interview with Art Caplan above.