Stand back: hand dryers may be blowing bacteria your way

Henrietta Brewer
April 13, 2018

In fact, hand dryers are spreading something disgusting right onto you: fecal particles. In fact, the company marketed their Airblade hand dryers as reducing the potential risk for electric hand dryers to disperse fecal matter.https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/james-dyson-takes-on-the-taboo-of-toilet-plume-10318521.html Unfortunately, the researchers at the University of CT found even air dyers with HEPA filters collected human waste bacteria. The results were published this month in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

These bacteria came from bathroom air, and it included some that can cause disease. The simple movement of lots of people in and out of the bathroom, shedding microbes from their skin, he said, adds to the messy picture. Letting your hands air dry is also a more sanitary option. What's more, the inside of the dryer nozzles themselves had "minimal bacterial levels".

A hand is illuminated.


Scientists studied three different bathrooms in the University of CT by placing special plates beneath the dryers for 30 seconds.

The team found PS533 in every bathroom tested.

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


"Within a large building, potentially pathogenic bacteria including bacterial spores may travel between rooms", the authors wrote in their research paper. Consequently, this study has implications for the control of opportunistic bacterial pathogens and spores in public environments including healthcare settings.

The study shows if hand dryers are retrofitted with HEPA filters, it can reduce the spread of the bacteria four-fold. Although that's a lot, it certainly isn't ideal. For this reason, many opt to use hand dryers to dry their hands, especially if the dryers are touchless.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine found the dryers may suck in bacteria from flushing toilets and spread it onto your hands.


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