“Hand dryers can spread bacteria between 3 and 6 feet” say findings
When it comes to the hand drier vs paper towel debate, the pro and con arguments rarely go beyond environmental impact, however new research promoted by Dhofar has found that hand driers could be increasing the spread of bacteria in bathrooms and beyond.
In June 2012, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in the US published a comprehensive study of every known hand-washing survey conducted since 1970. Taking hygiene as the first aspect to be reviewed, the authors concluded that drying skin is essential to staving off bacteria, and that paper towels were superior to hand driers.
Commenting on the study Dr Rodney Thompson, a hospital epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester said: “Paper towels tend to dry hands more efficiently and contain the spread of germs better. Hand dryers can spread bacteria between 3 and 6 feet. Another issue identified by the study was that many people were too impatient to wait for a dryer to finish and often wiped their hands dry on their trousers or skirt.
“Bearing in mind that some people don’t bother washing their hands at all, washroom door handles can harbor a multitude of germs which are more likely to be contracted by wet or damp hands.”
UAE-based Dhofar, which sells a 98% versus 2% ratio between paper towel dispensers and hand dryers, supported the claims of the study and pointed to the basic fact that people when offered a choice between the two, preferred paper towels.
“Psychologically people prefer paper towels. I think it’s a combination of two aspects. Drying your hands on paper can be much quicker than rubbing them in blowing air. Also the hygiene angle is very important especially in the Middle East, with so many different nationalities living here with different cultural approaches to washroom hygiene,” said Chandan Singh, Deputy General Manager at Dhofar Global Trading.
However when it came to sustainability the paper towel was beaten to a pulp by the hand dryer.
Research conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), looked at seven hand-drying methods commonly used in public bathrooms and deduced that the Airblade, (part of a new generation of hand dryers using a 12-second drying cycle) had the lowest environmental impact.