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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cleaning Up on Capitol Hill — Or At Least, Clean Hands

Re-published from CQ OnLine News

May 13, 2009 – 7:09 a.m.

By Emily Ethridge, CQ Staff

That “wash your hands” mantra to prevent the spread of swine flu is getting a high-tech boost in the Capitol, with the installation of hand sanitizer stations around the building and nearby offices.

Hand-washing is “the greatest thing you can do to prevent the spread of germs,” Eva Malecki, communications officer for the Architect of the Capitol, said Tuesday.

Several automatic hand sanitizers are already in place. The machines dispense a dollop of alcohol-free sanitizer and a moisturizing lotion when a sensor detects hands underneath — no touching required. A number of the 400 dispensers are still on order and no decision has been made about whether they will remain in the Capitol permanently, Malecki said.

The sanitizer dispensers are being placed in the most public, highly trafficked areas, such as outside elevator banks, cafeterias and the subways, Malecki said.

The Architect’s office worked with the Capitol attending physician’s office, as well as with the House and Senate leadership, to pick the dispensers and place them around the building last week. They will also be set up in the Capitol Visitor Center, congressional office buildings and the Library of Congress.

The Capitol is a major tourist attraction with thousands of people coming in and out of the building each day. And on a recent day, the Capitol Visitor Center logged 19,000 people, a record number.

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