Aerosolization In Public Restrooms

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What you need to know about how aerosols are created in restrooms.

Aerosolization. It’s a term that many will have heard more in the past year and a half then they have before. A quick Google Trends search will show that in Canada, the search term “aerosolization” peaked in mid-March 2020. It has continued to see peaks in search traffic since. The number one related topic, according to Google Trends, is coronavirus.

While the term has been thrown around more regularly, there still seems to be confusion on what it means. Aerosolization is the process of converting a substance into particles small and light enough to be carried in the air. While the term gets a bad reputation – aerosolization on its own is not dangerous or “bad.” It all depends on the substance that is being aerosolized.

Knowing aerosolization has become such a hot topic and is frequently discussed in conjunction with hand dryers, Dyson set out to determine the effect of different hand drying methods on the concentration of aerosols. The testing was carried out by Airmid Healthgroup in a controlled environment using a sink, paper towels and various Dyson Airblade hand dryer models including Wash + Dry, 9kJ, V and dB. Each experiment was carried out three times with paper towels and hand dryers being used in separate experiences.

Results showed that aerosols can be generated in a washroom due to different activities – not just hand drying but also activities like walking, using a tap and drying hands with paper towels. The results showed that Dyson Airblade hand dryers had no significant impact on the surrounding air. When compared to drying with paper towels, results from the study suggest that drying with a Dyson Airblade hand dryer was proven to aerosolize no more than paper towels.1 This all supports previous studies that advise Airblade hand dryers are as hygienic as paper towels.

As an added layer of defence, all Dyson Airblade hand dryers are fitted standard with HEPA filtration that is proven to capture 99.97% of particles. Air is drawn in through the machine, passes through the filter to be purified and then purified air is projected to dry your hands. Dyson Airblade hand dryers also produce no paper waste and emit up to 85 per cent less C02 emissions than paper towels. Creating a better environment in the washroom and the world outside.

To learn more about the research please visit https://www.dysoncanada.ca/en/commercial/hand-dryers/hygienic-hand-drying.

Based on aerosolization measured during hand drying. Testing conducted by independent third-party lab.

HEPA filter tested to IEST-RP-CC001.6, by an independent testing laboratory, under prescribed test conditions.
The environmental impact of electrical appliances and paper towels was measured by Carbon Trust. The calculations were produced using the software Footprint Expert Pro, based on product use over 5 years and using weighted averages of individual countries of use. Dry times for product were evaluated in Max mode using DTM 769.

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Hall, Lead Design Engineer at Dyson

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