Before we get into this, I’d like to point out that the photographic evidence of this DIY experiment has yet to be scientifically verified… but with that said, let’s get to the nightmare fuel.
Nichole Ward of Carlsbad, California is clearly suspicious of the hygienic properties of warm air hand-dryers in public bathrooms… and this apparently led her to conduct a little test recently.
Ward posted the details of this experiment on her Facebook page, explaining how she placed a petri dish beneath the vent of one such hand-dryer for a total of three minutes, then (presumably) sealed the dish and allowed it to incubate for a few days.
The post — which has gone viral this week — includes an image of what Ward claims to be the result of this incubation period — and while it may be fascinating if your hobbies include collecting spores, mold and fungus (like Egon Spengler in GHOSTBUSTERS), it isn’t a pleasant prospect for anyone who might think the hands-free dryers are a more sanitary option than paper towels.
According to MSN News, Ward has not yet verified whether she has scientific or medical background, but the photo reveals what might be lab equipment, so it’s possible she stuck to scientific method (even touching or breathing on the inside of the dish before sealing will invalidate the results). The article does cite other scientific studies that support her case — including one from the University of Leeds, which concluded “airborne germ counts were 27 times higher around jet air dryers compared to the air around paper towel dispensers.”
“From now on I just wash and scrub, and dry on my clothes,” Ward commented, “or shake and air dry OUTSIDE of the restroom.”
Personally, I keep hand sanitizer on me at all times… and in the midst of a major flu epidemic, I’m even more diligent about using it lately.