A recent study found bathroom hand dryers are pretty gross.
A study by the scientists at the University of Connecticut found hand dryers in men’s and women’s bathrooms blew bacteria onto hands including fecal matter.
The study, published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology Journal, stated scientists came to the conclusion after they placed data-gathering plates under hand dryers at 36 bathrooms on the University of Connecticut’s campus.
The researchers said they placed the plates under the dryers for about 30 seconds and found “between 18 and 60 different colonies of bacteria on each plate.”
“These results indicate that many kinds of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers and that spores could be dispersed throughout buildings and deposited on hands by hand dryers,” the study said.
The scientists wrote it was not immediately clear what “organisms” are “dispersed by hand dryers” and if “hand dryers provide a reservoir of bacteria or simply blow large amounts of bacterially contaminated air, and whether bacterial spores are deposited on surfaces by hand dryers.”
The researchers noted the hand dryers did not have the HEPA [high-efficiency particulate air] filters that come in most Dyson models. Researchers said the HEPA filters helped decrease but not eliminate the bacteria.
The study said it was possible hand dryers are “responsible for spreading pathogenic bacteria, including bacterial spores” through an entire building as well. Researchers also noted Bacillus subtilis PS533 was discovered in every bathroom they tested.
Peter Setlow, one of the study’s lead authors, told Newsweek the bacteria will not potentially affect human health but it shows how easy the bacteria spread. He said the bathrooms they tested now offer paper towels.