Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Did you know one-third* of men don't wash their hands? (*Correction)

Last night, NBC11 reported a nationwide study on percentage of men and women who wash their hands after they use the bathroom. The study installed hidden cameras in selected public restrooms around the country including stadiums, bus stations, parks, office buildings...etc. The point is not to reveal any identities but to examine personal hygienes in the US.

The result was not surprising but disturbing nonetheless.

33% of men DO NOT wash their hands before exiting the bathroom.

12% of women DO NOT wash their hands before exiting the bathroom.

What a disparity between genders! And my goodness, 33% of men DO NOT wash their hands after they've used the toilets/urinals? That is sickening.

That means 1 out of 3 male hands I shake in business meetings are tainted. That means more likely than not, the safety poles on BART are also contaminated. What about the guy who hands me my latte at Starbucks? The potential is frightening.

People think I'm ridiculous for popping out my bottle of Purell on BART?? I think I am just saving myself from getting sick!

With women, I even think 12% is a bit high for this day and age. But just thinking back to my office restroom encounters, I clearly recall a few times where someone walked straight out of the stall without stopping by the sink.

Be careful whose hands you touch next!


Anonymous said...

wow - you'd think people were better at washing after using the restroom. Every time I'm in the bathroom, be it in the stall, or in the general area, I'm utterly disgusted & disturbed whenever someone walks out without washing. What are these people thinking? Well, obviously they're not....

Anonymous said...

I knew it. And then they go into the office refrigerator. Just sickening. I'll leave my place of employment for trouble making (?) purposes

Anonymous said...

Well what does it matter when your building doesn't have hot water either?
Word to First and Howard.

Anonymous said...

Too bad they didn't break down the numbers by urination and defecation.

Anonymous said...

Someone made a mistake in relating the statistics. I found the study on google news, including several different sources. It's 33% of men that don't wash their hands, not 66%; and 12% of women that don't wash. (Some sources quote how many do wash, some quote how many don't wash, and some mix the two stats together. I hate that.)

One reason for concern is that 33% is up from 25% last time this was investigated.

Personally, I'm more concerned with the people who cover their cough with their hands and then touch something. While bad bathroom habits have a higher "ick" factor, coughing and sneezing generally indicate communicable disease. In a healthy person, urine is generally considered sterile.

Still...gross! At least I know I'm not crazy for opening restroom doors with a paper towel after I wash my hands. (And I do get fewer colds since I started doing that a couple of years ago.)

bartmusings said...

Oh, you're right! I got the male stat wrong. I just double-checked. I'll make the correction!

Josh said...

Being a man, I can vouch for the lack of hand-washing amongst so many guys. I also find it pretty disgusting. I think that all restroom doors should be set up that they can be pushed open from the interior, so you don't need to touch that filthy handle.

Also, the trick regarding coughing that I learned from a friend who is a chef is that you cover your cough with your elbow, and never ever touch your face unless with a tissue.