One quarter of US men do not wash their hands!

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hygiene

A new study conducted by the American Society of Microbiology shows
that only 75 per cent of men wash their hands after using the
restrooms, a sure sign that there is still plenty of scope for soap
manufacturers to penetrate the market for hand soaps.

The study finds that women have significantly better hand washing hygiene, with approximately 90 per cent of females washing their hands after using the restroom.

What is interesting about the survey is the percentage of people of both sexes claiming to wash their hands after using the restroom and those that actually did so. Some 91 per cent of respondents claimed to wash their hands, whereas just 83 per cent did so.

The results highlight the fact that, although successive campaigns by both personal care companies and hygiene bodies highlighting the importance of washing hands have obviously got the message, putting that message into practice is not always the case.

"The single most important thing we can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness to others is to clean our hands,"​ the American Society for Microbiology​ (ASM) said in a statement.

The results were disseminated during a press conference this week, held by both the ASM and The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) to highlight National Clean Hands Week.

The two groups say they are working towards getting the message across about a vital health issue that is being championed by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study itself was conducted by ASM and SDA at the end August, observing the hand washing habits of 6,336 individuals at six public attractions in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.

The actual figures for the percentage of individuals washing their hands were contrasted by a telephone survey of 1,013 American adults, also carried out in August, where 97 per cent of women and 96 per cent of men said that they always washed their hands after using the bathroom.

"The American Society for Microbiology has been focusing on increasing public awareness of clean hands in periodic campaigns since 1996, and this message remains one of our most important priorities,"​ according to Judy Daly, Ph.D., secretary of the Society.

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