Monday, October 9, 2006

Coming clean on washing

Restaurateurs say getting employees to wash their hands is more difficult than packing the house. New research on American’s use of soap and water may provide some insight as to why.

Dining out may be ingrained in our culture, but hand washing is still surprisingly iffy, according to a new study from the Soap and Detergent Association, whose Washington, D.C., headquarters must be spotless. In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, more than a third (36 percent) admitted they seldom or never wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. Almost as many (30 percent) said they don’t routinely give the paws a scrub before lunch.

Worst of all, about 8 percent confessed they don’t always wash their hands after using the bathroom. And the SDA surmises that the true figure may be far higher. “There’s a gap between what people say and what they do,” the group observes in its analysis of the data. It cites an earlier study, conducted in collaboration with the party animals over at the American Society for Microbiology, that found 17 percent of Americans don’t hit the soap after using a public bathroom.

And if adults don’t stop at the sink as a matter of course, what habit are their children going to develop?


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