Go to any public restroom and listen to the constant screaming of the hand dryers. Do they really work? Is it possible they they can actually do harm? (and not just to our eardrums).
If you’re patient enough to run through the full blower cycle until your hands are fully dry, you may take satisfaction in the thought that you are making a contribution to the environment by saving paper. Maybe that’s true, but does the reduced paper use offset the damage you may be doing to your immediate environment, specifically the people around you?
A study published in January in the Journal of Applied Microbiology compared the dispersal of viruses when people dry their hands with paper towels vs. hand dryers and found that jet air dryers were by far the worst offenders, spraying 1,300 times more contaminants than paper towels while spreading some of them nearly 10 feet from the dryer itself.
The biggest culprit is the Dyson Airblade hand dryer, which spreads more germs than paper towels and sends them shooting across the room.
With all the latest public restroom technology, one might assume blowers are more hygienic than paper. Manufacturers suggest that an automatic faucet and an air blower solve the problem of bacterial transmission. Though that may be true regarding the faucet and soap dispensers, studies have shown hand dryers actually increase the spread of potential airborne illnesses.
Jet hand dryers may dry your hands super fast but they also might be putting others at risk. Paper towels may just represent the lesser of two evils.