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America’s Clean Hands Report Card - Can’t Rise Above ‘C’ Lvel

The increased prevalence of contagious skin infections, the threat of pandemic flu and the upcoming cold season prompted The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) to issue its second Clean Hands Report// CardSM, giving America a “C-minus”, a downgrade from 2004, when the country received a “C.”

“It’s more important than ever that people understand that clean hands save lives,” said Nancy Bock, SDA Vice President of Education. “It’s the places we’re at everyday where we need to protect ourselves the most – at home, at work and at school – anywhere we come in contact with other people’s germs.”

Among the findings of SDA’s 2006 National Cleaning Survey:

· 68% of respondents don’t wash their hands long enough to effectively remove germs and dislodge dirt (worsened from 54% in 2004). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SDA recommend washing with soap for at least 20 seconds.

· 36% surveyed seldom or never wash their hands after coughing or sneezing (slightly improved from 43% in 2004). One of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their nose or eyes after touching someone or something contaminated with the cold virus.

· 31% don’t always wash before eating lunch (similar to 2004). That means germs that from money, door handles and the lunch counter could attract more bugs than just ants to the picnic.

The Report Card surveyed Americans on basic hand hygiene practices, such as washing before a meal, after using the bathroom, and after coughing or sneezing. The Report Card not only measured how often Americans wash daily, but for how long, and revealed perceptions of hand hygiene. (A summary of the Survey’s other findings are available at www.cleaning101.com/handhygiene).

More Education Needed

According to the CDC, cleaning our hands is the single most important thing we can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness to others. Of those
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