We wouldn’t normally look to a study about business sustainability for data about handwashing and hygiene, but the 2012 Tork Report: The Sustainability Gap contains an informative, and sometimes troubling, section on the effects of health and hygiene on sustainability.
For example, although 70 percent of Americans say they practice good hand hygiene,
- 33 percent of men don’t wash their hands after using the restroom. (Time to rethink that hearty handshake?)
- 98 percent of those interviewed underestimated the average number of surfaces we touch every 30 minutes (answer: 300)
- Only 10% of Americans knew that germs stay alive for 48 hours on inanimate surfaces.
- Fewer than half of Americans wash their hands after using exercise equipment, handling money, or taking public transportation, each of which is likely to be more contaminated with germs than the restroom.
- 47 percent of employed adults in the U.S. eat meals at their workstation, where desks can carry 400 times more dangerous bacteria than the average public toilet seat.
So while we’re all in the mode of resolving to change some behavior or other, we can try to wash our hands more frequently, and eat at our desks less often. And, it’s probably a good time (any time is probably a good time) to use a disinfectant wipe on your workstation.