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Infection Control

Study: Bacteria found in unused paper towels

January 06, 2012
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WASHINGTON — Grabbing for a convenient paper towel in a public restroom may leave more on your hands than you bargained for, according to WebMD.

Researchers from Laval University in Canada tested six brands of paper towels most commonly found in public restrooms and found bacteria, the article stated.

According to the article, while bacterial was found on all the paper towels tested, the biggest culprit was towels made of recycled fibers.

Most of the bacteria found in paper towels were Bacillus bacteria, which can produce toxins that cause food poisoning, while one brand of paper towel contained Bacillus cereus bacteria, which been associated with infections of the eyes, lungs, blood and central nervous system, the article noted.

"These findings are interesting in that we do not think of paper towels as being contaminated," said Elizabeth Scott, PhD, co-director of the Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons College in Boston.

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