Navigation Links
New evidence suggests electric hand dryers in public toilets pose health risk
Date:3/2/2009

A recent study by the University of Westminister found that electric hand dryers can dramatically increase the number of bacteria on people's hands after use. The shocking findings were found during a study in which they compared the numbers of bacteria on subjects' hands before and after they had washed and then dried them in a public washroom using either paper towels, a traditional warm air dryer or a new-style jet air dryer.

London (PRWEB) March 2, 2009 -- The electric hand dryers found in thousands of public toilets can dramatically increase the number of bacteria on people's hands after washing them and contaminate the washrooms where they are installed.

Scientists at the University of Westminster discovered the shocking findings during a study in which they compared the numbers of bacteria on subjects' hands before and after they had washed them and then dried them in a public washroom using either paper towels, a traditional warm air dryer or a new-style jet air dryer.

During their research, they discovered that:

  • after washing and drying hands with the warm air dryer, the total number of bacteria was found to increase on average on the finger pads by 194% and on the palms by 254%
  • drying with the jet air dryer resulted in an increase on average of the total number of bacteria on the finger pads by 42% and on the palms by 15%
  • after washing and drying hands with a paper towel, the total number of bacteria was reduced on average on the finger pads by up to 76% and on the palms by up to 77%.

The scientists also carried out tests to establish whether there was the potential for cross contamination of other washroom users and the washroom environment as a result of each type of drying method.

They found that:
  • the jet air dryer, which blows air out of the unit at claimed speeds of 400 mph, was capable of blowing micro-organisms from the hands and the unit and potentially contaminating other washroom users and the washroom environment up to 2 metres away
  • use of a warm air hand dryer spread micro-organisms up to 0.25 metres from the dryer
  • paper towels showed no significant spread of micro-organisms.

The results will come as a surprise to many people. Consumers, healthcare institutions and businesses such as restaurants have often been told over the years that electric hand dryers are the most hygienic way to dry the hands after washing them. It's a message which seems to have sunk in: a recent consumer survey found 58% of people in the UK thought electric hand dryers were more hygienic than both textile-based towels and paper towels (1) .

The reality, however, could not be more different, with the University of Westminster research results suggesting people could even be putting themselves at increased risk of illness by using dryers.

Keith Redway, a Senior Academic in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Westminster, said: "The results of all parts of this study suggest that the use of warm air dryers and jet air dryers should be carefully considered in locations where hygiene is of paramount importance, such as hospitals, clinics, schools, nurseries, care homes, kitchens and other food preparation areas."

"In addition, paper hand towel use is highly beneficial for improved hygiene in any other facilities open to the public, such as factories, offices, bars and restaurants."

He added: "Using paper towels results in a significant decrease in the numbers of bacteria on the hands, a clear advantage compared with the increases observed for both types of electric hand dryer tested in this study. In addition, paper towels are far less likely to contaminate other washroom users and the washroom environment."

"Indeed, these findings suggest that if either a warm air dryer or jet air dryer is the only drying method available, in terms of bacterial numbers, a washroom user could be better off not washing and drying their hands at all."

Notes to Editors

'A comparative study of three different hand drying methods: paper towel, warm air dryer, Dyson Airblade dryer' was conducted by Keith Redway and Shameem Fawdar of the School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, London towards the end of 2008. The independent research was commissioned by the European Tissue Symposium (ETS), a trade body representing 90% of Europe's tissue industry.

For the part of the experiment concerning bacteria on the hands, researchers counted the total numbers of bacteria on both finger pads and on palms. They also tested specifically for staphylococci (bacteria typically found on skin, hair and in the nose) and for coliforms which are faecal or gut bacteria. Following a visit to a public washroom, test subjects were asked to press their finger pads directly onto the surface of various types of agar plates before and after washing with soap and water and drying. Metal formers and swabs were used to sample bacteria from the palms of the hands before and after washing with soap and water and drying. The bacteria were then transferred to agar plates, allowed to grow and the resulting colonies counted.

To establish whether there was any potential for contamination of users and the washroom environment caused by each type of drying method, a model micro-organism (yeast) was used to artificially contaminate the hands of volunteers before they used the different methods of drying. Yeast was used as this would accurately represent the transmission of the harmful bacteria often present on hands without the risk of harming the volunteers.

More details of the study can be viewed on Keith Redway's University of Westminster web page at: www.westminster.ac.uk/~redwayk

Reference
(1) Intermetra, June 2008 - Users' preferences in hand drying systems

# # #

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/handdryer/hygiene/prweb2196064.htm.


'/>"/>
Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2009 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Clinical Evidence Grows in Support of CyberKnife Treatment for Intracranial and Extracranial Tumors
2. Weak Evidence Backs Most Heart Guidelines, Report Finds
3. Physician Develops Resveratrol Evidence-Based Nutraceutical for Heart Health
4. Dr. Gregory Sawyer, of Los Gatos, Has Been Selected by the American Dental Association for the Evidence-Based Dentistry Champion Conference
5. Panel Finds Evidence Murky on Full-Body Skin Exams
6. McGraw-Hill Professional and JAMA Launch New Online Evidence-Based Medicine, Clinical and Educational Resource
7. Introducing HEAL-WA--New Initiative Brings Evidence-Based Health Sciences Information to Health Professionals in Washington State
8. APIC 2009 Targeting Zero Initiative Offers Practical Tools, Evidence-Based Elimination Strategies to Prevent the Deadliest Healthcare-Associated Infections
9. Physical therapy offers evidence-based solution to musculoskeletal pain
10. Coerced medication used in psychiatric care despite lack of clinical evidence
11. MEDai Evidence-Based Guideline Reporting Provides Decision Support at Point of Care
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New evidence suggests electric hand dryers in public toilets pose health risk
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Healthcare is in flux. The ... for the mass media launching of story movements to highlight what's most unfair ... unfortunate experiences; such a movement can generate the network power to improve healthcare ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... OH (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... insurance and financial planning services from offices headquartered in Hamilton County, is embarking ... rescue LuvFurMutts. , LuvFurMutts specializes in finding new homes for orphaned or neglected ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 08, 2016 , ... Coppin Insurance Agency, an insurance and financial planning firm ... Cape Coral area, is embarking on a charity drive with the goal of providing ... Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida works to provide fresh and nutritious food ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... KS (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... financial consultation services to families and business owners in and around central Kansas, ... provide assistance to at-risk youth in the region. , Headquartered in Wichita, Youth ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... of the most comprehensive mental health systems reform legislation in more than fifty ... President, and the commitment of our elected officials to improving mental health services ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... DUBLIN , Dec 8, 2016 Research ... 2016-2020" report to their offering. ... , The global chromatography market ... Global Chromatography Market 2016-2020, has been prepared based on an ... market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... India , December 8, 2016 ... report "Sugar-Based Excipients Market by Product (Actual Sugars, ... Functionality (Filler & Diluent, Tonicity Agents), Formulation (Oral, ... by MarketsandMarkets, the market has witnessed healthy growth ... grow at a CAGR of 4.3% between 2016 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. , Dec. 8, 2016 ... nuclease technology to develop novel antiviral therapeutics, today ... M.D., as chief executive officer and a member ... is an incredibly experienced executive with a deep ... said Stephen Quake, D.Phil., founder of Agenovir, co-president ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: