Hand dryers can contaminate the air around them, study says

November 22, 2014  20:58

Given the choice between noisy hand dryers and tree-felling paper towels, dryers are the better option, right? Maybe not, at least when it comes to your health.

A University of Leeds study finds hand dryers, especially "jet-air" models, can actually spread germs around a public bathroom. To simulate what could linger after poor handwashing, researchers coated participants' hands with a harmless bacteria not typically found in bathrooms, FoxNews reported.

Participants then dried their hands, and scientists tested bacteria in the air near the various hand-drying options. What they found: The air around jet-air dryers held 27 times more bacteria than was found around paper towels, and 4.5 times more than around warm-air dryers.

Further, "a similar pattern was seen for bacterial counts [3 feet] away," they write. And that bacteria lingers: Half was collected in the air around dryers five minutes after use, with bacteria still hanging around after 15 minutes.

"Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer ... you may be splattered with bugs from other people's hands," a researcher says in a statement.

The researchers conclude "air dryers may be unsuitable for use in healthcare settings, as they may facilitate microbial cross-contamination."

Follow NEWS.am Medicine on Facebook and Twitter

loading...

  • Video
 
 
 
  • Event calendar
 
  • Archive
 
  • Most read

month

week

day

 
  • Find us on Facebook
 
  • Poll
How much money are you ready to donate each month treatment and rehabilitation of patients with psychiatric disorders?
2500 AMD
5000 AMD
More than 10 000 AMD
Not ready to donate