Myths about Hand Dryers Part One:

This blog was written by a 3rd party source to give our readers a different point of view.

These days many commercial bathrooms have hand dryers. Without question, hand dryers will continue to be added to more and more bathrooms in the future. This seems to be the way public opinion is headed as people become more conscious of germs and protecting the environment. However, there are still myths about hand dryers floating around in the public consciousness.  I’d like to tackle five of these myths examined in the article “Blowing Hot Air? Five Myths about Hand Dryers Debunked” written by Denis Gagnon president of Excel Dryer Inc. and inventor of the Xlerator hand dryer. The article in its entirety can be found publicly at http://www.handdryersvspapertowels.com/Resources/ExcelDryerXlerator/Hand%20Dryers%205%20Myths-Web.pdf

Myth Number One: “Hand dryers are not sanitary.” This is an argument I have not heard before and I was interested to read more about this myth. In 1993 an unpublished study funded by the Association of Makers of Soft Tissue Papers (truly there is an association for every line of work) concluded “…that hand dryers dramatically increased bacteria counts.” In 1994 Dr. Syed Saatar from the University of Ottawa discredited the 1993 study in his paper “Bacteria on Washed and Dried Hands: A Critical Review of two Unpublished Reports from the University of Westminster.” Dr. Saatar found the study had  “Certain flaws in the methodology that compromised its value.”   This supports a study conducted in 1990, which found “That the interior of a hand dryer is dry, and constantly heated, creating a poor environment for the propagation of microorganisms.” The study goes on to state “The interior of a dryer has bacteria counts two to four times lower than other surfaces in the bathroom…” In the end this myth was debunked by science. Like all myths though they tend to take on a life of their own. The next myth is definitely a popular one.

Myth Number Two: “Hand dryers don’t dry hands effectively.” This was an issue with older hand dryer models that didn’t dry hands in a reasonable amount of time. “The ineffectiveness of typical hand dryers lies in a flawed design of most early models, and those flaws continue in many existing dryers today.” These early hand dryers took a long time to evaporate the water on the hands and people were frustrated. “The idea was that a warm steady stream of air would evaporate the water on hands, much as a hair dryer dries hair.” This of course takes time that people in the bathroom were not willing to spend when drying off with a paper towel was quicker. Excel Dryer Inc. developed the Xlerator to combat this issue. Excel “…developed a more focused streamlined nozzle that would direct high-velocity air at the hands, blowing away the loose droplets and breaking up the layer of water vapor between the air and the skin, allowing it to evaporate more quickly.” Fortunately I’ve seen this more efficient hand dryer in many public bathrooms. Now our hands can dry in 10-15 seconds as opposed to several minutes.

We’ve examined two of the five common myths about hand dryers. In my next post we will explore the other three. Stay tuned…

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