Restroom Hand Dryers Spread More Germs Than Paper Towels, Study Finds

air-blown hand dryers

Those air-blown hand dryers in public restrooms may spread far more germs than conventional paper towels, a new study suggests.

British researchers placed a harmless type of bacteria on the hands of volunteers in order to simulate poorly washed hands. They then had them use warm-air dryers, high-powered “jet-air” dryers or paper towels to dry their hands.

The investigators measured airborne bacteria levels and found higher amounts of germs around both types of dryers than around towel dispensers.

Jet-air dryers were the worst, the study found. Bacteria levels in the air around jet-air dryers were 4.5 times higher than around warm air dryers and 27 times higher than around paper towel dispensers, said a team led by Mark Wilcox of the University of Leeds.

His team also found that the bacteria persisted in the air around hand dryers long after they were used. Forty-eight percent of the bacteria around hand dryers was collected more than five minutes after use, and the bacteria could still be detected 15 minutes after use.

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SOURCE: WebMD News from HealthDay
Robert Preidt

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