Bathroom hand dryers are blasting your hands with poo particles

Bathroom hand dryers are blasting your hands with poo particles

That's what a new study suggests. "The more bacteria stick", study author Peter Setlow tells Business Insider.

Sometimes billed as a healthier and neater alternative to paper towels, scientists say hand dyers collect and spew out bathroom bacteria.

The independently-funded study looked at 36 University of Connecticut School of Medicine bathrooms and tested each hand dryer once for 30 seconds. Spore-forming colonies, identified as B. subtilis PS533, averaged ∼2.5 to 5% of bacteria deposited by hand dryers throughout the basic research areas examined regardless of distance from the spore-forming laboratory, and these were nearly certainly deposited as spores. The results were published recently in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Hot-air hand dryers in multiple men's and women's bathrooms in three basic science research areas in an academic health center were screened for their deposition on plates of (i) total bacteria, some of which were identified, and (ii) a kanamycin-resistant Bacillus subtilis strain, PS533, spores of which are produced in large amounts in one basic science research laboratory.

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In a new study conducted by a team from the University of CT, researchers went to 36 of the school's bathrooms and placed petri dishes underneath a number of hand dryers.

Speaking to Newsweek, study author Peter Setlow, a professor at the University of CT, explained the origin of most forms of bacteria that could be found in public bathrooms.

What's unclear, they admit, is just why the air-blasted plates showed so many more spores.

That's the best way to do it, you're not blowing air around the facility and it's effective. But septuagenarian Setlow says he's sticking to hand towels now, and the university has added them to each bathroom studied. That's because bathroom bacteria comes from feces and gets "aerosolized" when toilets are flushed, especially with the lid down, Setlow explains.

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