What’s Wrong With Hand Dryers
Those hot air hand dryers in public bathrooms may be environmentally friendly, but they’re spraying bacteria all over you. That conclusion comes from a University of Connecticut study showing that these dryers suck in bacteria from bathroom air and then spray them out. As a result, researchers found that the bugs were being dispersed throughout the adjacent rooms and building, not just the rest rooms. The team identified 62 types of bacteria representing 21 species and concluded that some may be propelled into the air when lidless toilets are flushed, allowing them to then be dispersed by the dryers. The researchers found that equipping the hand dryers with HEPA filters significantly cut the number of bacteria blown out, although it didn’t eliminate them. Reportedly study leader Peter Setlow swore off using hand dryers in response to the study findings, and the University of Connecticut put paper towels back in the restrooms. The upside: despite the “yuck” factor here, you’re unlikely to contract an illness as a result of exposure to the microbes sprayed by hand dryers.
Peter Setlow et al, “Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot-Air Hand Dryers.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, April 2018, doi:10.1128/AEM.00044-18
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