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Bacterial contamination in public toilets
A study produced by the Westminster University about bacterial contamination in public toilets, presented at the 2008 European Tissue Symposium, informs about the risk of transmission of bacteria when using hand driers at public toilets.
In contrast, there are studies showing right the opposite and claiming that drying your hands with a hand dryer is absolutely safe in regards to bacterial contamination.
For your information and convenience, here below you will find a series of studies that counterclaim the information found in the mentioned study by the Westminster University about the use of a hand dryer to dry your hands:
- Study of “New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) Research and Developement Student Competiton project” written in 2013, it concludes that the modern high speed hand dryers are efficient and environmentally friendly and safe in regards to bacterial contamination.
- Study by Dr. Tom Miller a senior research fellow at the Department of Medicine (University of Auckland), published in 2010 where he describes the 10/10 method for hand drying as the best way to dry your hands avoiding bacterial contamination. This method consists of drying your hands with a cloth or paper towel during 10 seconds
followed by a further 10 seconds drying under a warm air dryer to dissipate the remaining moisture.
- Study by Mr. Stephen Dorrell, Secretary of State for Health in the UK in the 1990s, that can be summarized in his own words: “The results showed that hot air hand dryers developed no more bacteria than paper towels during the hand drying process"
- Study by Drs. J. A. Matthews and S.W.B. Newsom, Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, made in 1987. This study compared the number of bacteria found in the hands of a user after drying his hands with four different hand dryers and the number of bacteria found after using paper towel for the hand drying process. They came to the conclusion that there was no significant difference between the final number of bacteria in the hands of the user.
- Study by Dr. Paul E. Walker, Dir. Of Medical Services, Public Health Service Hospital Seattle, Washington (USA), made in 1953. These bacteriological studies of 304 cultures, showed a probably significant reduction of cross contamination of the hands when a mechanical air dryer was used.
It is therefore clear that all throughout history different scientific studies have been published proving that air hand dryers are not a risk of bacterial contamination at public toilets. It is our intention to put at the disposal of all the users of public toilets this information so that they can take the best decision about which method to use when drying their hands.