Look who spreads germs in public toi­lets

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There is an on­go­ing bout in public toi­lets. Apart from the toi­lets that send out a mist of poo ev­ery time they are flushed, and bac­te­ri­aladen door han­dles and soap dis­pensers, there is the in­fa­mous hand dryer that dis­trib­utes germs from fae­ces and urine to all and sundry.

But who is the worst of­fender?

Stud­ies all agree on the im­por­tance of thor­oughly wash­ing hands but no­body has been able to pin­point the clean­est way to dry them later. One study, which found that hand dry­ers in­creased the spread of bac­te­ria, was funded by the Euro­pean Tis­sue Symposium, a trade as­so­ci­a­tion that rep­re­sents tis­sue pa­per pro­duc­ers in Europe. Dyson, the man­u­fac­turer of a hand dryer, paid for another study that rec­om­mended the com­pany’s con­trap­tion. Con­fused? Be­hold an in­de­pen­dent study, which com­pared the lev­els of bac­te­ria af­ter four dry­ing meth­ods cloth tow­els, pa­per tow­els, hand dryer, spon­ta­neous evap­o­ra­tion found no dif­fer­ence in germ lev­els in any group. A 2012 The Mayo Clinic Pro­ceed­ings’ sys­tem­atic re­view of var­i­ous stud­ies said that pa­per tow­els are su­pe­rior to air dry­ers, as fric­tion while us­ing tow­els help dis­lodge mi­cror­gan­isms from the skin sur­face. Dry­ers, on the other hand could leave bugs be­hind, and also cir­cu­late and dis- perse germs by suck­ing con­tam­i­nated air in the ab­sence of proper fil­ters, said the re­view.

Hand dryer

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