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

ypes 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 dryin
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