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Posted by bio_man   December 16, 2022   3690 views

Bayer Corporation and the Public Health Committee of the American Society for Microbiology sponsored a study of hand washing in public restrooms. Researchers from the survey group hid in stalls or pretended to comb their hair while they observed over 6,000 men and women in five large cities. Their observations revealed that many people prefer a "get up and go" strategy, failing to wash their hands after using the restroom facilities. In New York's Penn Station, for example, only 60% of restroom users washed after relieving themselves. Similar rates were found in other cities: 64% of restroom users washed at a Braves game in Atlanta, 69% washed in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, 71% used soap and water in a New Orleans casino, and a laudable 78% washed their hands after using the toilet at Chicago's Navy Pier. In general, women washed their hands more often than men did — 74% compared to 61% — although this trend was slightly reversed in New York and New Orleans.

As part of the research project, the survey firm Wirthlin Worldwide also conducted a telephone poll asking people about their hand washing habits. Of the 1,004 adults surveyed, a full 94% claimed to always wash their hands after using a public restroom. Although that's a comforting perception to cling to, keep in mind that a friendly wave may be healthier than a firm handshake.

Source Haney, D. Q. (January 12, 1997). Many don’t wash hands, study shows. Austin American-Statesman, A5.

hand washing public bathroom human behavior psychology
Posted in Research
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