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Research uncovers a dirty little secret

WASHINGTON -- Men are dirtier than women. So scientists have confirmed by spying in public restrooms, watching as a quarter of men left without washing their hands.

In contrast, 90 percent of the women did wash up.

The study results reported yesterday mark the American Society of Microbiology's latest look at how many people take what is seen as the easiest step to staying healthy: spending 20 seconds rubbing with soap under the faucet.

In 1996, the society concluded that about that a third of people did not wash. This time, 83 percent of people washed up, reported Harris Interactive, a research company that last month monitored more than 6,300 public restroom users for the society.

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