Stand back: hand dryers may be blowing bacteria your way

Washing your hands seems like quite the waste if you're just going to get poo sprayed on them.      Flickr  Sarah Laval

Washing your hands seems like quite the waste if you're just going to get poo sprayed on them. Flickr Sarah Laval

The study suggested that fecal bacteria becomes aerosolized when lidless toilets are flushed, and then hand dryers suck up the germy air and spray it around even more.

Biologists at the University of CT conducted a study and found that the warm air coming from the dryers, it carries with it a huge number of spores of pathogenic bacteria and dirt particles. The same droplets are sucked in by the hand dryers along with air. Unfortunately, according to a new study, this isn't so.

The University of CT carried out a study to identify whether the dryers were helping to disperse germs, or just redistributing them.

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The hand dryers were found to be sucking up the impure air inside the washrooms and spraying it back on the hands of the users. Bacterial spores, Setlow explained, had probably traveled throughout the research building from a lab.

Some hand dryers like those made by Dyson do use HEPA filters.

Using a HEPA filter on the hand dryers reduced the bacteria by 75 percent, the study showed.

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"Perhaps the filters weren't working properly, or the large air column below the hand dryers was sucking in bacteria from unfiltered air adjacent to the forced air column", Setlow, who is a professor at the University of CT, explained.

The researchers, who were from the University of Connecticut's School of Medicine, studied 36 bathrooms across the campus. The numbers of bacteria were higher than those found in the air of bathrooms that didn't have hand dryers, Newsweek reported.

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