How often do you use a public restroom? Well, if you dry your hands with a bathroom hand dryer, guess what? You’re getting fecal matter on you. Can you believe it? No matter how careful and clean you try to be when using public facilities, you will still get poo on you. It’s true!
Scientists at the University of Connecticut conducted a study recently of 36 public restrooms and found that the dryers blow all the fecal bacteria that resides on toilets, floors, walls, sinks, etc., up into the air and onto you every time you activate them. To gather the evidence, they placed bacteria-collecting plates in different areas of the facilities and ran the public restroom dryers. The major germ found comes from the gastrointestinal tracts of humans and other mammals. It’s called bacillus subtilis, also known as hay bacillus or grass bacillus. Officially, it’s a gram-positive, catalase-positive bacterium that also exists in soil. This bacteria is very popular with biotech companies, due to its bacterial excellence in enzyme production.
Why We Have Dryers in Public Restrooms
The hand dryer became a mainstay of public bathrooms decades ago, because it was a less costly and neater alternative to paper towels. Paper towels replaced cloth towels (which were often on a revolving roll). The use of cloth (which was commonplace pre-1970s) is highly unsanitary—especially when you consider how many people don’t actually “wash” their hands. Paper towels were a much healthier substitute.
The Spreading of Germs in a Public Restroom
A great deal of public bathroom users don’t wash their hands. Don’t believe me? Just linger a bit the next time you go. But don’t linger too long! Someone might call the cops. Also, don’t pull out your new spy phone app to record them either. That would “prove” your perviness. Just … watch … from afar. Or just listen from a stall. You’ll notice that a good many users will go right from the toilet to the door knob. Might as well just rub their genitals on it. As for those who do use the sink, a large amount don’t really “wash” their hands. They just give their fingers a little sprinkle after they tinkle. The Center for Disease Control recommends that a person lather their hands and scrub for a minimum of 20 seconds. When’s the last time you saw someone do that?
The Case Against the Public Restroom Dryer
It’s hard to ignore the research of scientists, especially when it proves something you always thought could be true. Yes, the hand dryer is a better alternative to paper and cloth—on its own. However, there are the flying effluvia issues that were never factored in. So, while more expensive and wasteful, public restroom providers may want to start switching back to paper products.
As for you? Well, you may want to consider using a paper towel at almost every step of the way the next time you’re in need of bathroom facilities. Or, better yet? Just hold it until you get home.
Want to know about another cool thing scientists are discovering? Check out my article on knuckle cracking.