Scientists compared the bacteria found in the air from hand dryers to air in a bathroom. The results were published recently in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. What's more, the inside of the dryer nozzles themselves had "minimal bacterial levels". "And there are a lot of bacteria in bathrooms".
Hand dryers suck up bathroom air and spew it out at speed.
A hand is illuminated.
For the study, a Connecticut-based team looked at 36 bathrooms at facility of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Newsweek notes, where one lab produces large amounts of spores of PS533, a specific but harmless strain of bacteria Bacillus subtilis. Unlike other types of B. subtilis often found in soil, this strain is only found in laboratory environments. Bacterial spores, Setlow explained, had probably traveled throughout the research building from a lab. 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. Although that's a lot, it certainly isn't flawless.
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. Convection created by a hand dryer's air streams, for example, might pull in unfiltered bathroom air.
Researchers added that they weren't sure if dryers are the actual source of bacteria after tests run on the machines found far fewer particles when they were not in use.
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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