Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot Air Hand Dryers

Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot Air Hand Dryers

Unfortunately, a new study from the journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology suggests that the hot-air hand dryer does just this. Convection created by a hand dryer's air streams, for example, might pull in unfiltered bathroom air. The numbers of bacteria were higher than those found in the air of bathrooms that didn't have hand dryers, Newsweek reported.

Using a hand dryer is typically considered to be one of the least nasty stages of using a public bathroom.

They used plates to collect the bacteria that was expelled from the dryers when switched on, finding that sometimes up to 60 colonies of bacteria were discovered.

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Hand dryers suck up bathroom air and spew it out at speed.

"Within a large building, potentially pathogenic bacteria including bacterial spores may travel between rooms", the authors wrote in their research paper. Either way, they note in the paper that "paper towel dispensers have recently been added to all 36 bathrooms in basic science research areas in the UConn School of Medicine surveyed in the current study". 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.

The hand dryers were found to be sucking up the impure air inside the washrooms and spraying it back on the hands of the users. 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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