More than one in four commuters has bacteria from faeces on their hands, according to research.
Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine swabbed 409 people at bus and train stations in five major cities in England and Wales.
The Dirty Hands Study was conducted to provide a snapshot of the nation’s hand hygiene habits, as part of the world’s first Global Handwashing Day. Commuters’ hands were swabbed at bus stops outside five train stations across the UK (Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Euston and Cardiff).
The further north they went, the more often commuters were found with faecal bacteria on their hands – men in Newcastle were the worst offenders.
The researchers said the results indicated that people were not washing their hands properly after using the toilet.
Val Curtis, director of the Hygiene Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “We were flabbergasted that so many people had faecal bugs on their hands.
“The figures were far higher than we had anticipated, and suggest there is a real problem with people washing their hands in the UK.”