Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Study Finds Bathroom Hand Dryers Spread Fecal Matter

Study Finds Bathroom Hand Dryers Spread Fecal Matter

Hand dryers in public restrooms are often touted as a more environmentally friendly way of drying your hands.

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.

The independent study took place at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

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The results of the study were concerning. They also exposed some of these sterile plates to the bathroom air under fans for 20 minutes. There was bacteria contamination inside the hand dryers, waiting to spread to the next person who dries their hands with them. In fact, the company marketed their Airblade hand dryers as reducing the potential risk for electric hand dryers to disperse fecal matter. Unfortunately, the researchers at the University of CT found even air dyers with HEPA filters collected human waste bacteria.

Unfortunately, a new study from the journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology suggests that the hot-air hand dryer does just this. Within a large building, potentially pathogenic bacteria including bacterial spores may travel between rooms, and subsequent bacterial/spore deposition by hand dryers is a possible mechanism for spread of infectious bacteria including spores of potential pathogens if present.

Some hand dryers like those made by Dyson do use HEPA filters.

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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.

Still, it makes you want to do the "shake and pat" the next time you're faced with a restroom lacking paper towels.

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