Hand Dryers Spread Bacteria So Dramatically That Scientists Think They're A Public Health Threat

A new revelation by a research team from the University of Leeds discovered a remarkably shocking fact when it’s announced that air dryers in public places are one of the most unhygienic equipments found in restrooms.

The study found that these trendy devices spread large amounts of bacteria from people’s hands on to other surfaces. Especially when hands are washed poorly and contains a lot of bacteria and germs. Resulting in public bathrooms to become one of the biggest health dangers for its users.

When the research team recreated a public washroom and used jet-air dryers for the experiment, they discovered the hand dryer increased the bacteria level by 27 times compared to traditionally used paper towels. They further noticed that the microbes spread by the dryer continued to circulate well over 15 minutes.

The team supported their findings with further evidence, referring to a report published in the Journal of Hospital infection, in which Prof. Mark Wilcox and his team found hand dryers help increase bacteria spread at hospitals. It posses a great danger as most serious and antibiotic-resistant bacteria have a better chance of spreading in hospital environments.

Leeds, Paris, and Udine, Italy were the cities that participated in the research that spanned over 3 months period. Each city had 2 restrooms used by visitors, staff and patients where one restroom was equipped with a jet dryer while the other paper towels. Air samples were then tested every day for a month. After 2 weeks of a break, drying methods were changed in each room and tests were carried out again. finally, one more the drying method of each room changed and tests were repeated for the 3rd time.

A diagram explaining the experimental design. Best, E. et al/Journal of Hospital Infection, 2018

Test reports of air samples collected and bacteria on surfaces in restrooms where jet dryers were fixed had consistently much higher levels of bacteria compared to all the restrooms that had paper towels.

The most shocking recovery of all was the fact that the surface of the jet dryer in Udine having 100 times more bacteria, 33 times more bacteria in Paris and 22 times more on the dryer fixed in Leeds. Relatively, the surface of the paper towel

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