Scientists have warned about the dangers of hand dryers

4_10_Hand

4_10_Hand

Hand dryers in public restrooms may be spreading bacteria to your hands, so you should think twice about using them. They scanned the areas for a strain of Bacillus subtilis, or PS533, that was engineered in a nearby laboratory, along with other bacterial colonies. The study by researchers at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine appeared in the latest issue of the journal Applied And Environmental Microbiology.

The results of the study were concerning.

You know, they're the little boxes near the sink that you use to dry yours hands when you've washed them after going to the toilet.

Study authors said Clostridium difficile, a serious illness that causes diarrhea, also could be spread through the hand dryers. Researchers recommend placing HEPA filters on all hand dryers to help reduce the harmful bacteria, or just use paper towels, although that's not a favorable option for the environmentally conscious. The hand dryers apparently not only blow out hot air, they also "suck in" air that's in the bathroom, the article states.

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"Perhaps the filters weren't working properly, or the large air column below the hand dryers was sucking in bacteria from unfiltered air adjacent to the forced air column", Setlow, who is a professor at the University of CT, explained. However, when the team retrofitted some of their dryers with HEPA filters, they only blocked about 75 percent of bacteria.

People, however, should not skip washing their hands to avoid getting bacteria on them from the hand dryer.

Still, it makes you want to do the "shake and pat" the next time you're faced with a restroom lacking paper towels.

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