The scientists also explored the effectiveness of using high-efficiency particulate air filters with the hand dryers.
Using a HEPA filter on the hand dryers reduced the bacteria by 75 percent, the study showed. The flushing of toilets spreads tiny water droplets all over the room. Consequently, this study has implications for the control of opportunistic bacterial pathogens and spores in public environments including healthcare settings. To be on the safe side, wiping hands with a paper towel after washing with soap is a better option.
Hand dryers suck up bathroom air and spew it out at speed. They placed a sterile plate underneath the dryers for around 30 seconds.
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The findings: Air-blasted plates carried 18-60 colonies of bacteria on average, whereas two minutes' exposure to the mere bathroom air left fewer than one colony on average. Convection created by a hand dryer's air streams, for example, might pull in unfiltered bathroom air.
A new study shows bathroom hand dryers blow out fecal matter after sucking it up from the air.
For now, Setlow is sticking to paper towels-as is the University of CT, which has added them to all 36 bathrooms surveyed in the study. Retrofitting hand dryers with HEPA filters reduced bacterial deposition by hand dryers ∼4-fold, and potential human pathogens were recovered from plates exposed to hand dryer air whether or not a HEPA filter was present, and from bathroom air moved by a small fan.