Specifically, the Westminster researchers coated their hands with a harmless virus, set a target nearby, then tested the three separate hand-drying methods -- paper towels, regular hand dryers, and jet air dryers -- to see how far each of them might spread the virus in the room. They found that levels of the virus were barely noticeable when paper towels were used, but that standard air dryers spread the virus more than two feet while the jet air dryers air blasts sprayed the virus about nine feet away, per the report. Really makes you hope people are actually washing all the germs off their hands before they dry them now, right?
It's worth noting, however, that the study appears to be the latest salvo in the ongoing war between hand dryer interests like Dyson and the paper towel industry. In fact, Dyson has already fired back at the claims with a spokesperson decrying the study as "scaremongering" and that it was "conducted in artificial conditions, according to a report by The Guardian. But regardless of what hand drying method is better or worse, one thing is clear: bathrooms -- especially public bathrooms -- are crawling with germs and, whether you like it or not, they will get on you.