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If You Use Those Hand Dryers In Bathrooms, You Might Be Harming Yourself

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Jet hand dryers may dry your hands more effectively than paper towels, but the former actually spreads a lot more germs, a new study found.

Researchers from University of Westminster in London had participants dip their hands into a solution containing MS2, a harmless virus that only infects bacteria.

They then dried their hands using one of three methods: a jet air dryer made by Dyson, another common warm air dryer and paper towels.

To determine how many germs were spread by each method, samples were collected from the air as well as human-sized glass outlines at different distances from the drying stations.

According to Medical Daily, participants who used the jet air dryer spread 60 times more germs than those who used common air dryers and 1,300 times more germs than the paper towel group.

The majority of the germs spread by the jet air dryer were found to be situated a little under a foot away. When samples were taken 9-feet away, however, the jet air dryer was discovered to have spread 500 times more germs than the warm air dryer.

The area 9-feet away contained no germs spread by those who dried their hands with paper towels, Tech Insider reports.

Air samples taken 15 minutes after drying showed 50 times more germs from users of the jet air dryer than warm air dryer users, and 100 times more germs than those who used paper towels.

Dyson denied the legitimacy of these findings, saying the study does not mimic the reality of public restroom conditions.

A representative for the company told Tech Insider via email,

The paper towel industry has scare mongered with this research for the past four years. It has been conducted under artificial conditions, using unrealistically high levels of virus contamination on unwashed, gloved hands.

Dyson previously claimed its hand dryers use filters to remove 99.9 percent of bacteria in the air while drying hands.

In February, the company released a video showing paper towels are not as effective as hand dryers, despite what some scientists may say.

This study was originally published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

Citations: Dyson's powerful jet dryers may spread 1,300 times more germs than paper towels (Tech Insider), Keep It Clean After Washing Your Hands: Jet Hand Dryers May Spread 1,300 Times More Germs To Hands Than Paper Towels (Medical Daily)