The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

One in four public soap dispensers are contaminated with bacteria and spread germs during hand washing

Person washing his handsImage via Wikipedia
It's always been common wisdom that washing your hands with soap eliminates, or at least reduces the amount of bacteria on your hands. Didn't your mother always say: "Wash your hands".

Well hold on to your hand sanitizer. A new study provides some disturbing findings about soap dispensers and hand washing. This study, published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, has found that one in four public soap dispensers in public washrooms are contaminated with bacteria. It gets worse. That contamination is passed on to the hand washer, even after thoroughly washing the hands.

From the study:

"Bulk-soap-refillable dispensers are prone to extrinsic bacterial contamination, and recent studies demonstrated that approximately one in four dispensers in public restrooms are contaminated. "
"The purpose of hand washing is to remove soil and to reduce the level of potentially pathogenic transient microorganisms. This is the first study to quantitatively demonstrate that washing hands with contaminated liquid soap actually increases the number of Gram-negative bacteria on hands. Furthermore, the results directly demonstrate that bacteria from contaminated hands can be transferred to secondary surfaces. We therefore conclude that washing with contaminated soap not only defeats the purpose of hand washing but may contribute to the transmission of potentially harmful bacteria."
Putting this real simply, if you use the public facilities and wash your hands, you have a one in four chance of having more bacteria on your hands than before you washed them. I suppose the moral of the story is don't use public facilities, or if you do, use your hand sanitizer. Look out Howie Mandel!


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