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Handwashing survey catches Americans dirty-handed

October 15, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — A startling number of Americans may be putting their health at risk by not practicing good hand hygiene, according to a press release.

When asked about their specific handwashing habits, a vast majority of adults (71 percent) say they regularly wash their hands, but that number may be grossly exaggerated, as nearly six in 10 (58 percent) admit that they have witnessed others leaving a public restroom without washing their hands, the release stated.

tork infographicAccording to the release, 60 percent of adults describe handwashing as being critical to their health, and over half (53 percent) consider washing their hands thoroughly and regularly to be the most beneficial practice for staying healthy; yet, respondents also admit to skimping on personal hand hygiene after coming into contact with a number of germy environments and objects.

Own up to handwashing best practices

"The average human hand has millions of bacteria, many good, but also sometimes some that can harm health. In addition, we can also carry viruses from touching surfaces that are contaminated," said Dr. Allison Aiello, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan and a member of SCA’s Tork Green Hygiene Council.

"While over half of SCA's survey respondents believe that handwashing is important, there are still clear gaps in the relationship between beliefs and practices," Aiello added.

Ten years of hand hygiene innovation

The SCA handwashing survey found a dramatic disparity between the sexes when it comes to personal handwashing habits, as more than a third of men (33 percent) admit they do not wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the public restroom compared to just one in five women (20 percent), the release noted.

Click here to read the release in its entirety.

How often do you wash your hands after being in contact with germy surfaces? Do the findings of this survey surprise you?