Judging by the results of a new study by the American Society for Microbiology, you might want to reconsider before you ever use a public restroom hand dryer again.
Why? Because the study found that these dryers do more than just blow-dry your hands. They also blow poop particles all over the place.
The study involved scientists placing a plate underneath public restroom hand dryers at the University of Connecticut for just 30 seconds. The results were NOT encouraging.
Researchers found that 30 seconds was more than enough for the plates to become awash in fecal particles and other potentially infectious microbes.
“These results indicate that many kinds of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers,” the study, published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal, reads.
The denizens of Twitter were mortified:
Hand dryers hurl other people poop at your hands. The weak get sick. The strong walk away unscathed. In the end we all get shit on
— actuallysteev (@steev_tv) April 13, 2018
I used to hate hand dryers because they didn’t really dry your hands, but now I love them because they spray poop.
— Sam Kimbrell (@samkimbrell) April 13, 2018
Kudos to Mr. Kimbrell for putting a positive spin on this study, I guess …
The American Society for Microbiology notes that the spread of poop particles most commonly occurs in public restroom with lidless toilets and low-powered hand dryers.
Upscale hand dryers with HEPA filters reportedly perform somewhat better. When the society tried outfitting their test dryers with HEPA filters, only 25 percent of bad particles made it through. That’s better, but still not good enough.
This isn’t the first time hand dryers have been exposed.
“Fecal matter and droplets of urine can be found in washroom air. These small particles can stay in the air and can be transported around the washroom area. Most hand dryers draw in contaminated air and direct it straight onto your hands,” Ian Eames, a professor of fluid mechanics at the University College London, told CleanLink a couple of years ago.
But it gets worse.
The latest study also found that hand dryers often cause these disgusting, icky particles to spread throughout an entire building!
“Within a large building, potentially pathogenic bacteria, including bacterial spores, may travel between rooms, and subsequent bacterial/spore deposition by hand dryers is a possible mechanism for spread of infectious bacteria, including spores of potential pathogens if present,” the study reads.
Well, it’s official, I’m NEVER using a public restroom hand dryer again, even if that means I have to dry my hands with my own clothes. Hey, at least my clothes aren’t covered in poop particles!