School and college restrooms get used for way more than the traditional potty break, and in some ways that may contribute to illness on campus, according to a new survey.
The Cascades Tissue Group, a private manufacturing and marketing company, commissioned the survey of 1,000 adults who had attended school in the last 15 years.
The survey was not nationally representative, and did not disaggregate responses by gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Still, their responses suggest students may need more lessons in germ theory and toxicology.
A majority reported washing their hands for 14 seconds or less after using the facilities, while a few “skipped the sink altogether.” (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.)
Fifty-seven percent said they had used their mobile phone in the bathroom, and more than 14 percent used restrooms to study.
More than one in 10 of those surveyed said they had eaten there, and 67 respondents admitted knowingly drinking hand sanitizer.
The survey draws no conclusions but does note that 57 percent of respondents said schools do not do enough to support on-campus, restroom hygiene.
A version of this article appeared in the October 21, 2015 edition of Education Week as School Hygiene