New study shows jet hand dryers spray viruses up to 10 feet away

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Jet hand dryers are good for the environment, but new findings show that they are notorious for spreading viruses
By Jason Spencer | Apr 17, 2016
Many bathrooms across the world have switched from paper towels to hand dryers, arguing that the warm air blown out is less wasteful than its one-use paper counterparts. But hand dryers aren't without their own problems.

According to News EveryDay, a new study from the University of Westminster released a study showing that jet hand dryers spread more germs than disposable paper towels. And it's not even by just a small amount; researchers found that up to 1,300 viral plaques were sent flying up to nearly 10 feet away when using jet hand dryers.

However, some jet hand dryers proved to be bigger culprits than others, with the Dyson model spreading the most germs and viruses when it was in use.

"These differences in results between the three hand-drying devices can be largely explained by their mode of drying the hands,"said the research team at Westminster.

According to Modern Readers, participants in the study were asked to test out the three different methods of drying their hands; disposable paper towel, hot air dryers, and jet hand dryers. Participants would put gloves on their hands and then dip their hands in the harmless virus M2 before washing and drying their hands. Samples were then collected from the air and in petri dishes that were placed around the room.

The Dyson jet dryer sprayed M2 nearly 10 feet away, whereas hot air dryers only projected the virus 2.5 feet. Disposable paper towels didn't even get thrown a full foot.

"Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it. You may also be splattered with bugs from other people's hands,"wrote professor Mark Wilcox from the University of Leed's School of Medicine.

But that doesn't mean paper towels are the best with it comes to avoiding germs. 88% of unused paper towel is crawling with bacteria. But perhaps this new study will pave the way for a method of drying our hands that eliminates germs and is good for the environment.

"These findings are important for understanding the ways in which bacteria spread, with the potential to transmit illness and disease," wrote Wilcox.


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