STATES CHRONICLE – Washing hands might have been a mini-adventure in and of itself when you were a little kid, but just like most things you did as a child it has lost its edge over the years. That doesn’t make it any less important, though, only far more of a routine. And routines can give way to mistakes.
So, innovation has to come along. Most of the times it does so in the form of a new soap, or a new type of faucet, but sometimes it comes in the form of a new product to dry your hands. Even though nobody asked for anything better than paper towels, we were given the regular hand dryers, and more recently the Dyson Airblade.
While I, for one, prefer regular paper towels (mostly because regular dryers are hit and miss, some blowing hard enough to spray water all over you, and other with barely the intensity of an asthmatic old man), there are those that prefer regular dryers, or even the relatively new Airblade.
But as it turns out, more power and innovation doesn’t necessarily mean more efficiency. This conclusion comes as a result of a new study that shows that hand dryers spread far more germs than paper towels. Of course, the results were contested, particularly by Dyson, but the team behind said that drying your hands will always spread germs, no matter what you use.
According to the tram of researchers from the University of Westminster, Dyson Airblades spread sixty times more germs than regular hand dryers, and as much as 1,300 more germs than regular, good old paper towels. This has raised concerns regarding the use of hand dryers for multiple health agencies.
And if you’re curious about how far the germs are spread when using each method, fear not! The team of researchers also investigated that by putting on gloves, washing their hands in a suspension of viruses that infect bacteria (bacteriophages), and then testing each hand drying method.
The Airblade apparently launches bacteria about three meters across the room, while regular hand dryers spread them 74 centimeters around. Meanwhile, classical paper towels only spread bacteria some 25 centimeters around. The team also wanted to raise awareness that every method of drying your hands can spread germs.
Still, Dyson is very critical of the study, claiming that it’s probably a propaganda move performed by the paper towel industry. While the team denies that, we can’t really tell for certain which group is right without any information on the funding of the research, so we may never know. In the meanwhile, I suggest you use whichever method of drying your hands you prefer.
Image source: Flickr