My pastor friend put new sanitary hot-air hand dryers in the rest rooms at his church. Then, after just two weeks, he took them out. I asked him why and he confessed that they worked fine, but when he went in there to use one, he saw a sign above a unit that read: “For a sample of this week’s sermon, push the button!”
If you’re a germophobe (extreme fear of germs and obsession with cleanliness)who wants to use a public washroom ever again, you might want to stop reading this. For many years, bathroom hot-air hand dryers have been the norm for both their environmental (eliminate paper) and sanitary (eliminate touch) benefits. But now it turns out that these units act like bacteria bombs, blowing large amounts of fecal matter onto your freshly washed hands. Here’s how:
Researchers at the University of Connecticut conducted the following study. They placed germ-collecting petri dishes in 36 public bathrooms at the university’s school of medicine facilities. In each bath-room, dishes were placed in two different locations; away from the hot-air hand dryers (for two minutes) and under the hot-air hand dryers (for 30 seconds). The dishes were then collected and the eventual bacterial colonies counted in each. The results were staggering. The germ colony count for the dishes away from hot-air hand dryers was 0 to 1 per dish. But the germ colony count for the dishes under the hot-air hand dryer was on average 40. In other words, almost 3900% higher.
What’s the reason for this? Researchers explained that when a person uses and then flushes a toilet, little pieces of fecal are thrown as high as 15 feet (4.5 meters) into the air. And then, these excrement particles get sucked in by the hot-air hand dryers and blown straightly onto freshly washed hands. (When operating, hot-air hand dryers take in 19,000 linear feet of surrounding air per minute and deliver it out onto the skin at a speed of 400 miles per hour.) And not just onto the under-lying hands, but also onto anyone else within six feet of the unit.
However, researchers caution not to panic – just because hot-air hand dryers churn out a ton of bacteria doesn’t mean you are going to get some disease and die from it. After all, fungi, bacteria, and other microbes are absolutely everywhere you go, and the vast majority of this menagerie won’t make you ill. Plus, exposure to bacteria is an important part of building up an immune system so that you can live a long and healthy life. But it does, to some extent, defeat the very purpose of hand washing (to remove bacteria and then turn around and immediately blow them all back onto those same hands). And even worse, to grow impatient and leave the hot-air dryer with your hands still wet (bacteria love moisture). One result of all of this has been that very environmentally-conscious University of Connecticut has now re-installed all the paper towel bathroom dispensers they had previously taken out.
The bottom line? Hand washing continues to remain the gold-standard for getting rid of germs on hands. And it looks like paper towels are the best way to keep it as such.
Clean Bathroom Humour
● You don’t have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep … ● Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change the toilet paper roll. … ● My morning routine: wake up, make up, drink up … ● If at first you don’t succeed; flush, flush and flush again … ● No job is finished until the paperwork is done … ● Bathroom rules: #1 Guest towels are to be used by guests only. #2 If you are not a guest, please dry your hands on your clothes … ● Remember, it’s a face on your head, not a colouring book … ● I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance, waiting for the bathroom … ● Always remember, better to arrive late than to arrive ugly … ● You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. For instance, toilet paper … ● How long is a minute? It depends on what side of the bathroom door you are on … … ● Please stay seated during the performance. Thank you … ● Karma: When you see the last of the roll of toilet paper without replacing it and you are the next person to use the bathroom … ● Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like, never washed a dog … ● The best seat in the house … ● There is always a little more toothpaste in the tube, think about it … ● Money in the bank is like toothpaste in the tube; easy to take out, but hard to put back in … ● Life is like a roll of toilet paper; the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes …