Bacteria Colonies Found in Air Blasted From Restroom Hand Dryers

Dyers pick up bacteria aerosolized from restroom toilets

April 17, 2018

Air blasted from a restroom hand dryer can contain at least 20 times more bacteria colonies than general restroom air, according to new study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Researchers held plates under hand dryers at 36 restrooms throughout the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington, CT, Newsweek reports. They found that the plates blasted with hand dryer air for 30 seconds carried an average of 18-60 colonies of bacteria. In comparison, plates exposed to regular restroom air carried less than one colony of bacteria, on average.

Restrooms contain bacteria from fecal matter which becomes aerosolized when lidless toilets are flushed. Hand dryers take in restroom air and blast it out at high speed.

Researchers also tested hand dryers fitted with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These dryers blasted air containing about 75 percent less bacteria than the dryers without HEPA filters.

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