Using Paper Towels may be a Healthier Choice

Using Paper Towels may be a Healthier Choice

A new study from England suggests that paper towels may be a healthier choice to make. The study shows that electric hand dryers take away moisture from users' hands but it emits bacteria into the air and onto people.

In various public restrooms, paper towels or electric hand dryers are available. According to the study, conventional and high-velocity dryers similarly spread bacteria into the air.

Airborne germ counts close to warm-air dryers were found to be 4.5 times higher than the counts close to paper towel dispensers. The counts close to jet air dryers were found 27 times higher.


Study leader Prof. Mark Wilcox, professor of medical microbiology at the University of Leeds, told The Huffington Post in an email that jet air dryers are fine for hand drying as they do this by making use of air velocities of about
400 miles an hour.

Wilcox added, "Unfortunately, this means that the dispersed water droplets (containing more or less bacteria/viruses depending on how hands were washed and how contaminated they were in first place) will be fired longer distances and some will remain suspended in the air for many minutes (possibly hours)."

For the study, the researchers applied safe Lactobacillus bacteria on people's hand that generally aren't seen in bathrooms. After this, the researchers measured levels of the bacteria in the air at distances of up to two meters away from the dryer and this was done after the participants had dried their hands.

According to Wilcox, there is no evidence that germs spread by dryers could cause illness but findings suggest that this could take place. Wilcox believe that the results of the study suggest that electric dryers should not be fitted and installed in settings where microbe transmission is a greater risk, for example, hospitals, cruise ships, etc.

According to a 2012 study that compared paper towels and hand dryers, from a hygiene point of view, paper towels are better than dryers, so paper towels should be used in places where hygiene is very important, like hospitals and clinics.

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