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Anorak | Toilet hand dryers spray bits of poo all over you and the room

Toilet hand dryers spray bits of poo all over you and the room

by | 11th, April 2018

Hand driers might not be all that sanitary. A study in Applied and Environmental Microbiology investigated the bogs at the University of Connecticut. Were hand driers pulling in bits of poo from the air – they spray up when you flush with the lid raised – warming them, then pebble-dashing them about the place?

 

Nichole Ward’s petri dish, 48 hours after she put it briefly in an enclosed hand dryer.

Nichole Ward’s petri dish, 48 hours after she put it briefly in an enclosed Dyson hand dryer. Via

 

As personal bugbear, I can’t understand those Dyson driers, the ones you slip tour hands down into, trying not to touch the sides. “Using a Dyson hand dryer is like setting off a viral bomb in a bathroom,” read a story. Dyson reacted with “Paper’s dirty little secret“, the voice warning: “Did you use a paper towel today? It wasn’t as hygienic as you might think.”

Maybe best to touch nothing and wash your hands at home?

Anyhow, here’s the latest news in hand drying:

PS533 “was almost certainly dispersed throughout bathrooms in the research areas as spores, which would easily survive desiccation in room air, as well as the elevated temperatures in hand dryer air; however, growing or stationary-phase bacteria would not be nearly so hardy as spores,” the authors note. “However, the facile dispersion of one bacterial strain throughout a research facility should probably be a concern to risk assessors and risk managers when dispersion of potentially pathogenic bacteria is considered.”

In a final test, the researchers did a cursory look at some of the other bacteria the dryers were blowing around. They found that with or without a HEPA filter, the blowers stirred up potential pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus.

The findings should be a wake-up call to managers of research and clinical settings. The authors note that Clostridium difficile—a devastating and intractable diarrheal plague—also forms spores, and researchers have found that a flushing toilet can easily launch it into the air.

“This suggests another means of C. difficile transmission and one that may not be interrupted by either hand washing or traditional surface decontamination methods,” the authors conclude. “The role of this potential mode of C. difficile transmission is worthy of future study.”

An independent study by the Mayo Clinic in 2000 found no difference in hygiene between dryers and paper towels.

To recap: dry your hands on your trousers.

More: Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot-Air Hand Dryers.

 



Posted: 11th, April 2018 | In: News, Technology Comment | TrackBack | Permalink