Flagstaff and Bellemont-based SCA is weighing in on this weekend’s Global Handwashing Day. SCA, a global hygiene company and makers of the Tork brand of away-from-home paper products, took a close look at North American consumer and U.S. college student hand hygiene habits in a new survey.
Commissioned in honor of this year’s Global Handwashing Day, observed on October 15, close to 3,000 U.S. and Canadian adults and U.S. college students were surveyed by IBOPE Zogby International to determine handwashing habits, as well as their expectations from businesses they frequent.
While those surveyed showed extra care in some hygiene situations, some bad habits prevail:
- Forty percent of U.S. adults and 53 percent of Canadian adults said they sometimes skip using soap when washing their hands
- Nearly a quarter of U.S. and Canadian adults do not wash their hands after coughing or sneezing
- Nearly 60 percent of U.S. college students never or only sometimes wash their hands before dining in the campus cafeteria
- More than half of U.S. and Canadian adults do not wash their hands after handling money
- Less than 55 percent of U.S. and Canadian adults indicated they wash their hands after activities such as going to the gym or using public transportation
- Less than one in five U.S. and Canadian adults wash their hands after using their computers at work, with less than 25 percent of U.S. college students admitting to the same habit on campus
ADD ONE, SCA Hygiene Survey
“Handwashing needs to become something that people think of on a consistent basis throughout the day,” said Tork Green Hygiene Council™ (TGHC) member and assistant professor of Clinical Laboratory Science at Saint Louis University, Donna Duberg. “Simply being aware of the risks associated with poor hygiene can help make a difference in a person or business’ attention to handwashing, and health and wellness overall.”
Soap is Key
While the use of soap may be inferred when washing hands, many in North America are
skipping its usage. “Soap is what helps remove bacteria when washing hands,” said TGHC member and associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Dr. Allison Aiello. “For handwashing to effectively prevent the spread of germs, plain soap should always be used.”
Paper Towels are Effective and Preferred
Drying hands thoroughly also plays a role in effective handwashing, as SCA research shows damp hands spread up to 500 times more germs than dry hands. When using a hot air dryer, more than 65 percent of U.S. and Canadian adults never or only sometimes continue using the machine until their hands are completely dry. With regard to drying methods, U.S. and Canadian consumers showed an overwhelming preference for using paper towels, with more than 70 percent preferring this drying method in foodservice, office and healthcare facilities. In fact, more than 50 percent indicated they have avoided using hot air dryers while in a public restroom for reasons such as they take too long to dry hands or they don’t dry hands completely.
Perceptions on Handwashing Outside the Home
The research also showed that consumers look to the businesses they frequent to be up to par on handwashing habits and accommodations – for both employees and patrons. Specific insights include:
- More than 80 percent of both U.S. and Canadian adults would avoid a restaurant whose restroom they found to be unclean
- More than 70 percent of U.S. adults and 66 percent of Canadian adults would avoid a healthcare facility or office if they found their restroom to be unclean
- Nearly one-quarter of both U.S. and Canadian adults feel their office/place of employment does not provide adequate encouragement for employees to wash their hands – with nearly one in four U.S. college students agreeing in regards to their on-campus facilities
- Nearly 90 percent of U.S. and Canadian adults would think less of a restaurant’s conditions if they did not have proper handwashing tools available
- U.S. college students were the most likely to wash their hands after working out at the gym or health center (73 percent) and using their cell phone (nearly 17 percent) than any other group surveyed
“Handwashing continues to be one of the most important steps we can take to avoid spreading germs and infections to others, both in our personal and professional lives,” said Duberg. “Ensuring that there is regular handwashing education and on-site supplies are easily accessible and adequately stocked is essential for customer retention and infection control in any business or facility.” Duberg also encourages businesses to provide hand sanitizing stations, as this promotes hand hygiene outside of the restroom and demonstrates commitment to patron health.
In support of its ongoing efforts to spread awareness of proper hand hygiene practices, SCA’s Tork brand offers downloadable handwashing posters, available at http://www.torkusa.com/en-us/hygiene1/hygiene-posters/.
For more information on the survey, or expert advice on implementing proper handwashing practices in your business or facility, visit www.torkusa.com.
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The Tork brand offers a complete range of products and services within hygiene and cleaning for professional washrooms, healthcare, food service and industry. Through customer understanding and particular expertise in hygiene and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader in many segments and a committed partner to businesses in over 80 countries. Tork is a global brand in the SCA hygiene portfolio. To keep up with the latest Tork news and innovations, please visit: www.torkusa.com.
About SCA in North America
SCA’s North American tissue division is one of the three largest producers of away-from-home tissue products in North America, supplying paper napkins, tissues, towels, specialty wipers, dispensers and soap used in commercial settings such as restaurants, office buildings, schools and healthcare facilities. Tork products are made from 100-percent recycled content. SCA recycles more than 750,000 tons of paper a year; on average, more than 60 percent of those tons are post-consumer waste. The first American papermaker to earn EcoLogo™ certification, SCA also has earned Green Seal™ certification on many of its products. The company has more than 2,200 employees in the United States and Canada. More information is available at www.torkusa.com.
SCA is a global hygiene and paper company that develops and produces personal-care products, tissue, packaging solutions, publication papers and solid-wood products. Sales are conducted in some 100 countries. SCA has many well-known brands, including the global brands TENA and Tork. Sales in 2010 amounted to $15 billion (USD). SCA has about 45,000 employees. For more information about SCA, please visit: www.sca.com.
About IBOPE Zogby International
IBOPE Zogby International is a non-partisan, premier global public opinion polling and market research firm that offers timely, accurate results and in-depth analysis and insights. IBOPE Zogby International works with issue experts in a vast array of fields including healthcare, technology, finance, insurance, energy, agriculture, public affairs, and media who offer insightful data analysis and exceptional service to clients in countries throughout the world. IBOPE Zogby International experts analyze data and work with clients to develop and implement new strategies, and offer customized and attractive solutions to challenges our clients face. IBOPE Zogby International was formed in January 2010 following the acquisition of Zogby International by IBOPE Inteligencia of Brazil, a subsidiary of IBOPE Group. Please visit www.ibopezogby.com for more information on IBOPE Zogby International.