Hand dryers collect feces particles, spray them on you, study says

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According to a new study conducted at the University of CT, electric hand dryers actually spread fecal matter in public restrooms.

"Perhaps the filters weren't working properly, or the large air column below the hand dryers was sucking in bacteria from unfiltered air adjacent to the forced air column", Setlow, who is a professor at the University of CT, explained. Electric hot hand dryers disperse this fecal matter on to wet hands and into the air.

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

Explanation: Every time you flush a toilet, it releases an aerosol spray of tiny tainted water droplets. These contain bacteria from excrement. While the study mainly looked for the lab-engineered bacteria, observation did show that pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause skin infections, pneumonia, and sepsis, also were found in the bathrooms. Hand and food contamination with these bugs can give a case of food poisoning or diarrhoea and vomiting.

For this findings, the team of scientists turned on dryers in thirty six separate bathrooms at the University.


This sends faecal particles into the air, where they linger until you turn on the hand dryer.

When the plates were simply left in the bathroom for a while, they only collected max 20 colonies. They showed growth of just one or less bacterial colony. They add that the dryers should be ideally fitted with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to filter out the bugs.

Researchers in CT say using hand dryers can blow bacteria throughout bathroom surfaces and 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.

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