July 10, 2013

From T. Wignesan:

Re: Eww! 95% don’t wash hands properly (June 10, 2013): I found your piece on hand-washing quite amusing. I don’t know how it is out there in the States where your research took place, but here in Europe, it’s really a shame. To attempt to wash one’s hands in almost any rest-room entails the use of taps and basins which have already been soiled by users or by cleaners who don’t necessarily take the requisite precautions: most cleaners come from Third World or developing countries where similar facilities simply don’t exist; at least, they didn’t up to quite recently in some places. Cleaners think what “looks” clean or free of “visible” dirt is really clean. They have no idea of what is contamination. Just observe them do the cleaning - I have - and you can see it’s only a means to a livelihood for them. They cannot however be blamed, of course. I’m merely stating a fact.

My point is, even if soap or other cleansing liquid is provided, to have access to them in their containers turns out to be a means of contamination. Even after washing one’s hands, if one turned off the tap with the so-called clean hands, one’s hands will have been contaminated all over again. The same applies to towel arrangements wherever they are provided. To use one’s bare hands to touch door handles and other entrance appliances can also prove to be a rather contaminating task. In fact, those who apparently don’t wash their hands in the rest rooms may eventually be freer of contamination than those who do.

Sorry to be so finicky, but I do think your research in this matter might need re-thinking.

Every good wish.

Dr. T. Wignesan,
ex Chercheur au C. N. R. S. 
94004 Creteil cedex, France


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