Stand back: hand dryers may be blowing bacteria your way

Weblog: new research suggests hand dryers should be replaced by low-tech paper towels

The study found that “many kinds of bacteria can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers”

The study found that “many kinds of bacteria can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers”

 

Research has shown that putting the toilet lid down before flushing will reduce airborne bacteria but, in public bathrooms, you cannot guarantee that this is always being done, so it is desirable to avoid spreading it further.

Unfortunately, a new study from the journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology suggests that the hot-air hand dryer does just this. “Results indicate that many kinds of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers and that spores could be dispersed throughout buildings and deposited on hands by hand dryers,” say the study’s authors. Gross.

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. 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.”

aem.asm.org/content/84/8/e00044-18.abstract