Bathroom air dryers – Want to dry your hands but keep them clean after you’ve washed them? Those hot air hand dryers in bathrooms may be blowing it. And by it, I mean bacteria and other gunk.
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Yet, another study is conjuring up visions of a swirling cyclone of bacteria and other microbes. For a study recently published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a team from the University of Connecticut Health (Luz del Carmen Huesca-Espitia, Gabrielle Joseph, Jaber Aslanzadeh, and Peter Setlow) and QuinnipiacUniversity (Richard Feinn and Thomas S. Murray) brought bacteria culture plates into 36 men’s and women’s bathrooms in an academic health center and exposed these culture plates to the air blown from the hot air driers for 30 seconds.
After this exposure, an average of 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria grew per plate. This included colonies of bacteria that could cause diseases in humans. Compare that to an average of 1 or less colonies per plate when they exposed the culture plate to bathroom air for 2 minutes without the hand dryers running. Installing HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters into the dryers did subsequently reduce the amount of bacteria by 4-times but did not remove all of the bacteria that could potentially cause diseases.
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Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to remove germs, stave off illness, and prevent the spread of bad bacteria to others.
But you may be undoing all your handwashing work the moment you press the button on a hot-air dryer.
A new study from the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University shows that hot-air dryers may be acting like bacterial bombs, shooting loads of spores from bathroom air directly onto your hands.
Several years ago, in an effort to be more environmentally friendly, many businesses, universities, and large corporations shunned the stacks and rolls of paper towels for these hot-air and jet dryers.
They produced less waste and ultimately could help the company’s bottom line, the rationale went.
However, this new research, which was published in the April issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, suggests that the environmentally friendly option may be bathing your hands in hefty doses of bacteria, even some that are usually found in feces.
Before this news sends you into a full state of hygienic hysteria, Dr. Thomas S. Murry, an author and researcher in the study as well as a professor and infectious diseases expert, cautions that they did not find evidence of dangerous or deadly bacteria.
“Importantly, we did not prove that the bacteria deposited by hand dryers are responsible for disease,” he told Healthline. “In fact, for people with a healthy immune system, it is unlikely to be a problem as the hand dryer is concentrating environmental bacteria from the air probably found in most places where people congregate.”
However, Murray points out that the results of the finding show “it does to some extent defeat the purpose of hand washing to remove bacteria when you just blow them back onto your hands.”
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If you scrub your hands after using a public toilet and then use an air blower to dry them, you could be leaving the restroom with hands that aren’t as clean as you’d think.
What’s more, the rest of you could now be covered in assorted microbial hitchhikers, too.
Restroom hand dryers don’t just blow — they also suck. When they hoover up air, they also siphon in bacteria, which includes microbes carried into the room on people’s skin, and those left behind by waste after a person uses and flushes a lidless toilet. Then, after sucking these microbes up, the dryers spew them out again — in abundance, according to a recent study.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine put their own public restrooms to the test, and found that air-blowing hand dryers were creating invisible bacterial highways in bathroom air. And these redistributed bacteria weren’t landing just on restroom occupants — thanks to high-energy blowers, the microbes were being dispersed throughout the building as well.
Previously, studies have shown that hand dryers can move bacteria from hands into the air, and have even suggested that they could contaminate newly washed hands with bacterial deposits, the study authors reported. To investigate that, they exposed 36 glucose-coated plates in public restrooms — first with the hand dryers off, and then with the hand dryers on — and then checked the plates for bacterial growth.
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If you’re a germophobe who wants to use a public bathroom ever again, you might want to stop reading this.
Because it turns out, while bathroom hand dryers can be more environmental than paper towels, they can also be a whirlpool of faecal matter.
You might not know it, but when someone flushes an open toilet, little bits of poop and bacteria can be thrown as high as 15 feet (4.5 metres) into the air.
As if that’s not gross enough, now a new study has found that those little bits of poop and bacteria can be sucked up by warm hand dryers and blown straight onto your freshly washed hands.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut began their study by placing petri dishes under various bathroom hand dryers around the school. Then, the team sat down to analyse the results.
While the plates that were exposed to normal bathroom air had about one bacterial colony present, the samples that were exposed to 30 seconds of hand dryer air had 18 to 60 bacterial colonies per plate.
The researchers concluded that “many kinds of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers.”
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Hand dryers may leave your hands significantly more dirty than before, according to a new study.
The study, the results of which were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found that plates exposed to 30 seconds of a bathroom hand dryer gained at least 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria, while plates exposed to bathroom air for two minutes had fewer than one.
The authors concluded that the “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.”
Still the study’s authors, who found that the nozzle of the dryers had minimal bacterial levels, said that more evidence was needed to determine if the dryers were bacteria harbors themselves or just blew large amounts of contaminated air.
It is known among those paying close attention to bathroom cleanliness — a hobby we probably wouldn’t recommend here — that bathroom air can contain fecal matter and droplets of urine.