Using a hand dryer is typically considered to be one of the least nasty stages of using a public bathroom. That bacteria then circulates in the air to then be sucked up, warmed up, and blown out of the dryer. For this reason, many opt to use hand dryers to dry their hands, especially if the dryers are touchless.
In the study, researchers searched 36 bathrooms at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine for a harmless, lab-engineered strain of bacteria Bacillus subtilis called PS533.
The scientists also explored the effectiveness of using high-efficiency particulate air filters with the hand dryers. Bacterial spores, Setlow explained, had probably traveled throughout the research building from a lab.
Now imagine a public restroom with many toilets releasing human waste bacteria into the air.
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The hand dryers were apparently sucking up the bacteria around the bathroom and blasting them to the hands of people.
However, a new study shows this may not be a sanitary option at all. Convection created by a hand dryer's air streams, for example, might pull in unfiltered bathroom air.
According to a new study conducted at the University of CT, electric hand dryers actually spread fecal matter in public restrooms.