Bathroom hand dryers are blasting your hands with poo particles

Bathroom Hand Dryers Spew Fecal Matter

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.

That's the best way to do it, you're not blowing air around the facility and it's effective. After having sucked in these microbes, the dryers reject them again - and in abundance - according to a recent study.

In a new study conducted by a team from the University of CT, researchers went to 36 of the school's bathrooms and placed petri dishes underneath a number of hand dryers. Retrofitting hand dryers with HEPA filters reduced bacterial deposition by hand dryers ∼4-fold, and potential human pathogens were recovered from plates exposed to hand dryer air whether or not a HEPA filter was present and from bathroom air moved by a small fan. And these redistributed bacteria did not just land on the occupants of the toilet: thanks to the high energy blowers, they were also scattered throughout the building. When the hand dryers were not turned on, the researchers did not find many bacteria - an average of six colonies per plate.

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The researchers checked inside the dryers to see if internal microbial buildup could play a role.

"Bacteria in bathrooms will come from feces, which can be aerosolized a bit when toilets, especially lidless toilets, are flushed", study author Peter Setlow told Newsweek. As Newsweek pointed out, installing the filters on select dryers seemed to work decently enough, if not perfectly, as they were able to block about 75 percent of all bacteria. Several of the samples contained staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria found in the body and sometimes linked to serious infections. Some bacteria, however, were still distributed - including potentially pathogenic ones.

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