Public bathroom hand dryers spray feces on your hands

Laverne Higgins
April 15, 2018

Dryers could act as "reservoir" for bacteria, they suggested, or perhaps their intense blowing simply provides more exposure to the already contaminated air.

The study took a look at 36 bathrooms at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, testing each machine during a single drying session.

"P$3 otentially pathogenic bacteria, including bacterial spores, may travel between rooms, and subsequent bacterial/spore deposition by hand dryers is a possible mechanism for spread of infectious bacteria, including spores of potential pathogens if present", according to the study. 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. However, he also stated that most people shouldn't worry about harmful bacteria potentially spreading after hand dryer use, though the devices are still best avoided by seniors and other people with weak immune systems.

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

A new study has found dryers are blasting our hands with poo particles, which linger in the air after a toilet is flushed with the lid up. 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. Comparable results were obtained when bathroom air was sampled for spores. The dryers blew up to 60 separate bacterial colonies, including staphylococcus aureus, a common bodily bacteria that's been associated with infections, CBS Pittsburgh reports. Spore-forming colonies, identified as B. subtilis PS533, averaged ∼2.5 to 5% of bacteria deposited by hand dryers throughout the basic research areas examined regardless of distance from the spore-forming laboratory, and these were nearly certainly deposited as spores. And while evidence shows dryers can cover hands in bacteria, they said, it's not certain whether they deposit bacterial spores.

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