In the latest observational study sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute® (formerly The Soap and Detergent Association), 85% of adults washed their hands in public restrooms, compared with 77% in 2007.
The 85% total was actually the highest observed since these studies began in 1996. The results were announced at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, an infectious disease meeting sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology.
In a separate telephone survey, 96% of adults say they always wash their hands in public restrooms, a percentage that has remained relatively constant over the years.
On behalf of ASM and ACI, Harris Interactive discreetly observed 6,028 adults in public restrooms in August 2010 to note whether or not people washed their hands. Researchers returned to six locations in four cities where two previous studies were conducted: Atlanta (Turner Field), Chicago (Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium), New York City (Grand Central Station, Penn Station), and San Francisco (Ferry Terminal Farmers Market).
Guys Washing Better – But Don’t Take Them Out to the Ballgame
Men stepped up to the sink a bit more than they have in the past when it comes to public handwashing. More than three-quarters of the guys (77%) washed their hands publicly in 2010, compared to 66% in 2007.
The men still strike out more on handwashing in sporting venues, though. Turner Field by far fielded the worst percentage for the guys – barely two-thirds (65%) – though that’s still better than just 57% in 2007. Perhaps as a counter to the men’s poor handwashing practices, Turner Field brought out the best in women’s handwashing among all venues: 98%.
Overall, the rate of women washing their hands in public restrooms improved from 88% in 2007 to 93% in 2010.
“We are really pleased to see these results, which suggest that our campaign is being effective,” said ASM spokesperson Dr. Judy Daly, Director of Clinical Microbiology at Children’s Primary Medical Center, Salt Lake City. “Although the venues were different, our first observational study in 1996 found only 68% overall washing up in public restrooms, and that declined to an all-time low of 67% when we repeated the study in 2000. We hope that as a result of an increased focus on handwashing in the media over these years, as well as increased public awareness of infectious disease risks, behavior really is changing.”
“The message is that people are getting the message,” said Nancy Bock, ACI Vice President of Consumer Education. “Between mom’s common sense advice and the recent pandemic scare, people now seem to realize the importance of when and how you wash your hands.”
First-Place Tie Between Windy City, City by the Bay
The best observed handwashing in 2010 was in Chicago and San Francisco, with 89% of adults lathering up in public restrooms. Atlanta was next (82%), followed by New York City (79%). The venue with the best overall handwashing regimen was Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (93%).
More of Us Are Getting Behind Handwashing After Changing Diapers
In a 2010 telephone survey of 1,006 American adults, Harris Interactive’s survey for ASM and ACI found the vast majority of us say we always wash our hands after using the bathroom at home (89%).
More Americans now report that they always wash their hands after changing a diaper (82%), an increase from 2007 (73%). Women are better than men at this practice: 88% of the ladies say they always wash their hands after diaper duty, compared to 80% of the guys.
Food for Thought
Those of us who say we always clean our hands before handling or eating food is staying about the same: 77% in 2010, compared to 78% in 2007. Among women, 83% say they clean their hands before touching their food; just 71% of men say they do.
And only 39% of Americans say they always wash their hands after coughing or sneezing.
“Although we are happy about the latest results, there is still work to do,” Daly said. “Only a minority indicate they wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. Handwashing in this context is particularly important because we now know that many respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses are transmitted primarily by hand contact when contaminated hands touch the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.”
“Whether it’s cold and flu season or baseball season, handwashing is a no-brainer,” said ACI’s Nancy Bock. “Washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or more is a simple way to stay healthy. And if you’re out and about, hand sanitizers or hand wipes are good alternatives for keeping your hands clean.”
Good Hygiene Online
ASM and ACI offer educational hand hygiene materials you can download online at www.washup.org and www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/hands_publications.aspx.
Harris Interactive observed the behavior of 6,028 adults who appeared to be age 18 and older in public restrooms located at major public attractions in the U.S. and recorded whether or not they washed their hands after using the facilities. The research was conducted in four cities and at six different locations:Atlanta – Turner Field
The data from the telephone survey are based on a nationally representative sample, stratified by census region and weighted by gender, education and ethnicity composure to represent the U.S. population. The 1,006 telephone interviews were conducted between August 4-8, 2010.
More details from the surveys are available online at www.washup.org and www.cleaninginstitute.org/news.
The American Society for Microbiology, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the largest single life science association, with 42,000 members worldwide. Its members work in educational, research, industrial, and government settings on issues such as the environment, the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, laboratory and diagnostic medicine, and food and water safety. The ASM’s mission is to gain a better understanding of basic life processes and to promote the application of this knowledge for improved health and economic and environmental well-being.
The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI - formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI (www.cleaninginstitute.org) and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.
Brian Sansoni | Newswise Science News
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
26.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy