Before you decide to use a hand dryer in the public bathroom, you might want to think again.
According to a new study published by Applied and Environmental Microbiology on Feb. 9 and posted online this week, University of Connecticut scientists discovered that hand dryers help further spread fecal matter that's already in the air.
The study entitled "Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot-Air Hand Dryers" found that after a toilet is flushed, the fecal particles in the air land on the hand dryer, then are redistributed to the users damp hands, which happens to also be the perfect condition for germs to spread.
"These results indicate that many kinds of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers and that spores could be dispersed throughout buildings and deposited on hands by hand dryers," according to the study.
It's important to note that this study was conducted using hot air hand dryers that did not have HEPA (High efficiency particulate air) filters like those used in dryers .
So while paper towels are considered much less environmentally friendly and probably costly to the company the bathroom belongs to, using them may prevent the spread of fecal matter and other bacteria-friendly material from ending up on your hands.