Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hand Dryers: The Unknown Danger in the Bathroom

All humans have several things in common. We all have human DNA, live on Earth (besides one or two astronauts), and are not monkeys. Also, we all go to the bathroom. Going to the bathroom is important because it is how we dispose of waste. In fact, if you did not go to the bathroom you would probably die.

One negative of going to the bathroom: Germs. Germs are everywhere and they have been the cause of lots of problems over the years, like the Black Death. Past generations did not know about germs though, so they cannot be blamed.

Pictured: Spreader of germs!
Now that we do know about germs (who are invisible to the naked eye), to combat them we have come up with things like “soap” and “showers”. After we go to the bathroom we (sometimes) wash our hands with soap and then dry them. Bathrooms used to be stocked with paper towels, but now they are being replaced by hand dryers. Hand dryers are more cost efficient and environmentally friendly, but there is one problem with hand dryers… they actually INCREASE THE NUMBER OF BACTERIA ON YOUR HANDS!

So how do they do it? The warm atmosphere inside the hand dryer provides the perfect environment for bacteria. When air then blows out of the dryer, bacteria (both from your hands and from inside the dryer itself) is being spread all throughout the room.

A study from the University of Westminster (that’s in London), found that washing and then drying hands with a warm hand dryer increased bacteria by an average of 194% on fingers and 254% on palms. In contrast, drying hands with a paper towel decreased bacteria by about 75%. Other studies have found similar results.

As humans, we are being placed in a very difficult situation because of hand dryers. We feel obligated to wash our hands after going to the bathroom, but when we use hand dryers, we are actually adding to the power of germs. I am not writing this to scare you, but to alert you to a problem that is very, very real. What you want to do with this new information is up to you. You could choose to just not wash your hands (disgusting), use a hand dryer (disgusting), or carry around a roll of paper towels at all times (inconvenient). You could also write a letter to your local congressman/woman about the hand dryer problem. Regardless, be careful, dear reader, because I think it's safe to say that we are at Threat Level Red.