Jet Dryers Spread Microbes
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Jet Dryers Spread MicrobesMost public bathrooms now offer you a choice of how to dry your hands: jet dry or paper towel? Some places encourage you to use a hand dryer since it’s easier on the planet, but is it better for your health?

It turns out the new high speed hand dryers actually spread viruses sixty times more than standard air dryers and 1,300 times more than paper towels. It makes sense because most people do a poor job of handwashing, so microbes stay on their hands and get spread into the air by these 400-mile-per-hour super hand dryers. This aerosolization of microbes spreads pathogens to others using the same bathroom.

In the study, researchers applied a harmless virus onto the wet gloved hands of participants who then washed their hands. They dried using either paper towels, a standard air dryer, or a jet dryer. Placed at various distances from the dryers were tall boards with petri dishes affixed on one side in the outlines of a man, woman, and child. The petri dishes were covered with bacteria. Everywhere viruses landed, the bacteria would get infected and die. This would tell researchers how much and how far the virus could be blown by the dryers.

Combined results from petri dishes from six various heights revealed the jet air dryer produced over 60 times more viral spread than the warm air dryer, and over 1,300 times more than paper towels. The maximum viral growth matched the height of a child’s head, and they were all within ten feet from the dryers.

The implications are clear - unless people effectively wash their hands, using air dryers, especially high speed ones, unfairly exposes others in the area to microbes they potentially carry.

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