Bathroom hand dryers spray feces droplets onto your hands, study finds

Study shows bathroom hand dryers spray fecal particles onto hands

In fact, hand dryers are spreading something disgusting right onto you: fecal particles.

Paper towels or the electric hand dryer?

The findings: Air-blasted plates carried 18-60 colonies of bacteria on average, whereas two minutes' exposure to the mere bathroom air left fewer than one colony on average. The results were published recently in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. So, in the brief moments your hands rest below the nozzle, they'll be exposed to far more air than usual-and far more bacteria.

A new study conducted by researchers in the University of CT showed that hand dryers expel a lot of harmful bacteria back onto your hands.

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These bacteria came from bathroom air, and it included some that can cause disease.

The University of CT added paper towel dispensers to 36 of its bathrooms after completing the study, Newsweek reported. The hand dryers apparently not only blow out hot air, they also "suck in" air that's in the bathroom, the article states.

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. Although these particular spores, which can survive for years, are "meaningless" for human health, their vast distribution shows that bacteria had spread through the air of the entire building.

The scientists also explored the effectiveness of using high-efficiency particulate air filters with the hand dryers. Researchers recommend placing HEPA filters on all hand dryers to help reduce the harmful bacteria, or just use paper towels, although that's not a favorable option for the environmentally conscious. But this study showed that adding the filters did not help.