Handwashing Stats Are Good, Could Be Better
The majority of those using public restrooms wash their hands, but large numbers still don't and the numbers have fallen since the last survey. Steve Mirsky reports.
Washing your hands is an excellent way to lower your risk of infection, especially for colds, flu and food-borne illnesses. After using the bathroom, most people do indeed appear to wash their hands. But a lot of people still don’t. That’s the finding of a study sponsored by the American Society of Microbiology, along with the Soap and Detergent Association. Sure the Soap and Detergent Association wants to sell soap, but using soap happens to make good sense.
The study had researchers observe the behavior of over 6,000 adults in public restrooms. No United States Senators were included. The sites were Penn Station and Grand Central Station in New York, Turner Field in Atlanta, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and the Ferry Terminal Farmer’s Market in San Francisco. Overall, 88 percent of women and 66 percent of men did wash their hands. But in the last survey two years ago, 90 percent of women and 75 percent of men washed up. So remember, when it comes to illness, you really can sometimes wash your hands of the whole thing.