A California scientist is warning people to beware enclosed hand dryers in public restrooms by sharing a truly sickening photo of what she says are the potentially-harmful bacteria and fungi that can be blown onto your skin every time you use one.
Nichole Ward, who appears to work in some sort of scientific lab in Carlsbad, California, took to Facebook last week to share the troubling results of an experiment.
The photo she posted, which has now gone viral, shows a Petri dish packed with fungi and bacteria after it had been put inside a hand dryer for just three minutes; when Nichole originally shared the post she said that she had conducted the experiment with a Dyson Airblade, however she later removed the brand's name from her post, according to the Daily Mail.
"Ok guys... ready to have your mind blown?!" she began. "This here is what grew in a Petri dish after just a few days."
The image shows a Petri dish with several things growing quite large in it after just 48 hours. She went on to explain that the dish has 'several strains of possible pathogenic fungi and bacteria' which end up on the hands of people who use enclosed hand dryers.
Pathogenic fungi and bacteria are those that cause disease.
"I stuck the open plate in an enclosed hand dryer of a public bathroom for a total of 3 minutes. Yes 3 only. DO NOT EVER dry your hands in those things again," she added.
Later, she mentioned Dyson, which has hand dryer models that are enclosed - although she later removed the reference after the post went viral around the world.
The dryers she previously referenced, however, see the user stick his or her hands in through the top, while air blows at the front and back.
Nichole's post has since been shared over a half a million times, and she has said that even she was surprised that the results were so bad.
"I've used it so many times but so glad I know now. From now on I just wash and scrub, and dry on my clothes or shake and air dry OUTSIDE of the bano," she said.
"This is literally what grows once incubated. But it's the very contaminates that you're drying your hands with but you cannot see with the naked eye until it's incubated.
"From an outside perspective, a blow dryer makes sense.
"But the spores in the air of a bathroom are SERIOUS and this was obviously overlooked."
Her original un-edited post then added: "So the enclosed (like Dyson) are the worst.
"But not much worse as the older ones that you push the silver button and dry that way. Fungi spores are still swarming so either way. Do not use them. Just wash with water and soap and leave with wet hands. Paper towels I think I still safe though. "
Although the brand's name has since been edited out of Nichole's post, a spokesperson from Dyson initially told ABC Action News that they were "very surprised to see these results," though they are '"unclear on the methodology employed".
"All Dyson AirbladeTM hand dryers have HEPA filters that capture particles as small as bacteria from the washroom air before it leaves the machine," the statement went on.
"Dyson AirbladeTM hand dryers are proven hygienic by university research and are trusted by hospitals, food manufacturers and businesses worldwide."
Still, commenters on Nichole's post are convinced enough by the image.
"So freaking nasty! Never using one of those blowers again," wrote one woman.
"I never trusted those things and always dry my hands on my clothes if they have them in public restrooms. Now I know why my gut said don't trust them!" wrote another.