The environmental cost of misinformation:
why the recommendation to use elevated temperatures for handwashing is problematic
By Amanda R. Carrico,
Micajah Spoden, Kenneth A. Wallston, and Michael P. Vandenbergh
*Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment, Climate Change Research Network, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA
*Youth Health Research Ofﬁce, School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
*Vanderbilt School of Nursing, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA
*Climate Change Research Network, Vanderbilt University Law School, Nashville, TN, USA
International Journal of Consumer Studies ISSN 1470-6423
" I have been intrigued by the responses we have gotten since the paper was published, some have been positive but others remain skeptical. It seems the assumption that 'hotter is better' is fairly well ingrained, although it's not too surprising given how often the recommendation continues to be cited by professionals."
The environmental cost of misinformation: why the recommendation to use elevated temperatures for handwashing is problematic
Multiple government and health organizations recommend the use of warm or hot water in publications designed to educate the public on best practices for washing one’s hands. This is despite research suggesting that the use of an elevated water temperature does not
improve handwashing efﬁcacy, but can cause hand irritation.
There is reason to believe that the perception that warm or hot water is more effective at cleaning one’s hands is pervasive, and may be one factor that is driving up unnecessary energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
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