Paper towels vs. air dryers
If you have a choice between paper towels and hand air dryers in restrooms, new research suggests you should choose the paper towels.
Researchers placed a harmless type of bacteria on the hands of volunteers, in order to simulate poorly washed hands.
They then had them use warm-air dryers, high power “jet-air” dryers or paper towels to dry their hands.
They measured the airborne bacteria levels and found higher amounts of germs around both types of air dryers versus towel dispensers.
Bacteria levels around the “jet-air” dryers were four-and-a-half times higher than around regular air dryers and 27-times higher than what was found around paper towel dispensers.
According to the team, those germs could still be detected fifteen minutes after use.
Study authors say the findings are important to help understand the way bacteria spread with the potential of transmitting illness and disease.
The findings appear in the “Journal of Hospital Infection” and were also presented at the Healthcare Infection Society International Conference in Lyon, France.