Study shows bathroom hand dryers spray fecal particles onto hand - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Study shows bathroom hand dryers spray fecal particles onto hands

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KHQ.COM - When using a public bathroom the goal for the germ-conscious people is usually to touch as few surfaces as possible. For this reason, many opt to use hand dryers to dry their hands, especially if the dryers are touchless. 

However, a new study shows this may not be a sanitary option at all. 

The study findings were published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology and show hand dryers can actually be major germ spreaders. 

Scientists studied three different bathrooms in the University of Connecticut by placing special plates beneath the dryers for 30 seconds. They then tested the plates for harmful bacteria and found 18-30 colonies of bacteria on each plate. 

So how exactly do fecal particles end up in the hand dryers? Scientists say that flushing a toilet without a lid sends bacteria into the air. That bacteria then circulates in the air to then be sucked up, warmed up, and blown out of the dryer. 

So how can you avoid the bacteria? 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. Letting your hands air dry is also a more sanitary option. 

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