Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Bathroom Hand Dryers Blow Fecal Matter on Your Hands

Bathroom Hand Dryers Blow Fecal Matter on Your Hands

Hand dryers in public restrooms may be spreading bacteria to your hands, so you should think twice about using them. Unfortunately, according to a new study, this isn't so. That bacteria then circulates in the air to then be sucked up, warmed up, and blown out of the dryer. Convection created by a hand dryer's air streams, for example, might pull in unfiltered bathroom air.

They say that more research is needed to find out whether the hand dryers are simply doing a good job of blowing this bacteria towards your hands or if the nozzle itself might be harbouring bacteria.

Biologists at the University of CT conducted a study and found that the warm air coming from the dryers, it carries with it a huge number of spores of pathogenic bacteria and dirt particles. The HEPA filters were able to block 75 percent of the bacteria from reaching the hands, but not all hand dryers in public restrooms will be equipped with such filters.

For now, Setlow is sticking to paper towels-as is the University of CT, which has added them to all 36 bathrooms surveyed in the study.

The plates were then tested and found to contain 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria each, although harmless laboratory bacteria were used for the test.

Researchers say this can cause people to leave bathrooms with potential pathogens on their hands, which can be dispersed throughout buildings. In fact, the University of Connecticut's School of Medicine even started to stock paper towels in its facilities. Letting your hands air dry is also a more sanitary option.

So how can you avoid the bacteria? Regular and thorough washing of hands remains one of the most effective ways of staying healthy, no matter how you choose to dry them afterward.

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