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Bathroom Hand Dryers Spraying Poop On Your Hands?

You’re concerned about your personal hygiene, so you wash your hands after you use the toilet. But, did you know that you’re literally “blowing it” when you use the bathroom’s hot-air hand dryer?

A recent study by the University of Connecticut found that hand dryers in men’s and women’s restrooms are actually spraying bacteria onto your hands, including fecal matter.

For the study, researchers brought bacteria culture plates into 36 men’s and women’s bathrooms at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. These plates were then exposed to air blown from the hot-air hand dryers for 30 seconds.

After just this short exposure, they found that the plates had an average of 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria per plate!

To compare results, they turned off the hand driers and exposed the culture plates to the bathroom air for two minutes. In these tests, they found an average of less than one colony per plate.

The researches later retrofitted some of the hand dryers with HEPA filters. This reduced the levels of bacteria by about 75 percent but did not remove all of the bacteria that could cause disease.

Peter Setlow, one of the study’s authors, said, “Bacteria in bathrooms will come from feces, which can be aerosolized a bit when toilets, especially lidless toilets, are flushed. The simple movement of lots of people in and out of the bathroom, shedding microbes from their skin, adds to the messy picture.”

This research adds to the mounting evidence that hot-air hand dryers have a role in the spread of bacteria.

If you’re wondering if you should ever use one of these hand dryers again, you might want to follow Setlow’s example. He switched to paper towels in all 36 bathrooms