Bathroom hand dryers are blasting your hands with poo particles

Bathroom hand dryers are blasting your hands with poo particles

But in bathrooms where such plumes gush regularly, where does all that fecal bacteria go?

Hand dryers are great environmentally friendly inventions, right? That's what a new study suggests. What's more, the inside of the dryer nozzles themselves had "minimal bacterial levels".

The findings: Air-blasted plates carried 18-60 colonies of bacteria on average, whereas two minutes' exposure to the mere bathroom air left fewer than one colony on average. On the bright side, dryers fitted with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters blocked roughly 75% of the bathroom bacteria.

IMPORTANCE While there is evidence that bathroom hand dryers can disperse bacteria from hands or deposit bacteria on surfaces, including recently washed hands, there is less information on (i) the organisms dispersed by hand dryers, (ii) whether hand dryers provide a reservoir of bacteria or simply blow large amounts of bacterially contaminated air, and (iii) whether bacterial spores are deposited on surfaces by hand dryers.

In the study, researchers searched 36 bathrooms at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine for a harmless, lab-engineered strain of bacteria Bacillus subtilis called PS533.

The research adds to a growing body of evidence showing that hot-air hand dryers have a role in the spread of bacteria-safe and potentially risky.

"Within a large building, potentially pathogenic bacteria including bacterial spores may travel between rooms", the authors wrote in their research paper. Researchers say the machines, which are created to blow hot air on you, are actually sucking up feces particles and spraying them onto your hands.

For now, Setlow is sticking to paper towels-as is the University of CT, which has added them to all 36 bathrooms surveyed in the study. 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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