Hand dryers are responsible for the dramatic spread of bacteria
How dirty are the hand dryers that are often found in public toilets? Very dirty, according to a British study.
The research report also shows that air dryers blow at such a violent speed that viruses are in turn thrown up to three meters in height, compared to ordinary hot air dryers that throw virus particles 75 centimeters in height. Paper towels were only able to throw up the virus to 25 centimeters. The report also shows that the density of virus particles is greatest within the range of 75 to 125 centimeters - which would correspond to the height of a toddler standing near the hand dryer while, for example, a parent uses it.
It’s been known for a while now – the humming hand blowers that are often found in public toilets spread bacteria. Professor Agnes Wold tells that “Blåstork is completely reprehensible and meaningless”.
Is it that bad? Apparently. Alarming even, according to the report published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, where researchers at Leeds University have carried out experiments in reality. They have investigated how different hand drying methods affect the spread of bacteria. The result may be that you will always forgo the windy alternative.
The twelve-week trial was conducted at three hospitals, in three different cities: Udine, Leeds and Paris. At each hospital, two toilets were selected, used by patients, staff, and visitors.
In one toilet, only paper towels were allowed, and in the other only hand towels. Every day for four weeks, tests were carried out on the air and on surfaces to measure the bacterial content.
After a two-week break in the collection of samples, the drying method was changed on the toilets, and then the same procedure was repeated again.
The differences in the samples turned out to be dramatic.
THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF BACTERIA WAS CONSISTENTLY HIGHER IN TOILETS WHERE THE BLOWING HAND DRYER WAS USED. IN UDINE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE TOWEL DRYER WAS COVERED BY 100 TIMES MORE BACTERIA THAN THE PAPER TOWEL DISPENSER.
33 times more in Paris – and 22 times more in Leeds.
In the British test, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, were also found three times more often at the bladder alternative.
In the report, Professor Mark Wilcox and his colleagues write that “electric hand dryers are not suitable in clinical settings”.
On the university ‘s website, Wilcox explains where the fundamental problem lies.
– The problem is because some people do not wash their hands properly. When using a jet air dryer, the microbes are blown away and spread around the toilet room.
HE FURTHER DESCRIBES THAT THE WIPER CREATES AN AEROSOL THAT POLLUTES THE ROOM – INCLUDING THE WIPER. WHEN NEW PEOPLE THEN STEP INTO THE ROOM AND TOUCH SURFACES, THEY RISK BEING INFECTED BY THE BACTERIA.
Although it does not change the result, it should nevertheless be mentioned that the study is funded by the organization’s European Tissue Symposium.