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Hand Washing Catching On in U.S.

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Researchers who observed hand washing in restrooms in major cities say 85% of adults are washing their hands after using public facilities, a new observational study shows.

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) sent observers into restrooms in six locations in four major cities in 2010 to monitor hand-washing trends after use of facilities.

The observers, who took steps to disguise their jobs, say they saw 85% of restroom users wash their hands, compared to 77% in 2007. It was the highest rate since such studies began in 1996. No such studies were done in 2008 or 2009.
Results of Hand-Washing Study

The results were announced in Boston at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a meeting sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology. The American Cleaning Institute was formerly known as the Soap and Detergent Association.

The groups’ findings were at odds with a separate telephone survey that found that 96% of adults claimed to have washed their hands after using public restrooms.

Harris Interactive, on behalf of the ASM and the ACI, “discreetly” observed 6,028 adults in public restrooms at Turner Field in Atlanta, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Grand Central Station and Penn Station in New York, and the Ferry Terminal Farmers Market in San Francisco.
 
 

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