[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
October 15th is Global Handwashing Day. And public health officials are hoping to highlight hygiene concerns across the globe. One country that needs a hand with washing up is Britain. A new study has found that, in the Queen's England, the further north you go, the dirtier the hands.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine swabbed the hands of commuters at bus stops and train stations across the nation. And it turns out that a man from Newcastle is three times more likely to have fecal bacteria on his hands than a Londoner. Even more surprising, the study found that women weren't any cleaner. In fact, in three of the five cities they visited, researchers found that women had dirtier hands than men. In cosmopolitan London, for example, women were three times more likely than men to be harboring germs on their manicured hands.
The Dirty Hands Study, as it's being called, was commissioned to provide a sense of the handwashing behavior of different countries. The researchers say they were “flabbergasted" by Britain's results and warn that one case of diarrheal disease could lead to quite an outbreak. An Englishman's health, the study suggests, is in his own hands.