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Study: New Yorkers, Washing Hands Do Not Mix

When It Ciomes To Public Bathrooms We're Always In A Rush
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Hand washing study

(THOMAS LOHNES/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — You’d think after last year’s swine flu pandemic everyone would be washing their hands frequently, especially after using a public bathroom.

Well, as CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reports, a dirty secret has been revealed.

Hands down, you’d think this one would be a no-brainer.

“Yes, every time, and I carry hand sanitizer,” teacher Erica Lair said when asked if she always washes her hands.

But according to a new study, New York came out last in a ranking of how many people wash their hands after using a public bathroom.

“Not my problem. I’ve got my own problems,” one person said.

The study, which looked at six public facilities in four cities, found Penn Station was the worst with 21 percent of bathroom goers skipping the soap and sink, followed by Grand Central Station where 19 percent didn’t wash.

“That’s disgusting,” one person said.

“What it says about New Yorkers is that New Yorkers are in a hurry I think,” said Barbara Hyde of the American Society of Microbiology.

New York women were cited as the dirtiest. The survey said 17 percent didn’t wash their hands at Penn Station and Grand Central Station.

“That’s not true. That can’t be true. No!” Lair said with a laugh.

On Tuesday at the bathroom in Penn Station we were happy to report the vast majority were washing away — with a couple of exceptions who must’ve forgot.

And in fact this is how the study was done — researchers observing the hand-washing habits of more than 6,000 people.

“If that’s the way they choose to spend their time that’s okay,” one woman said.

Yeah, perhaps the researchers had a little too much free time on their hands. But if it gets people to “get their wash on” we’ll all be a little better and cleaner.

The good news according to the study is overall in all four cities 85 percent of adult bathroom goers washed their hands. That’s an increase from 77 percent in 2007.

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