Wash your hands and dry with paper towel…

Except when the paper towel dispenser has been lit on fire.

According to the Kansas State Collegian today
a fire was started in Aggieville at O’Malley’s Alley on Sunday around 8 p.m. when someone lit the paper towel dispenser in the restroom. If you really hate paper towel that much, it might be safer (although not more sanitary) to use an air dryer (see Doug’s letter to the editor of the Manhattan Mercury posted below). Visit donteatpoop.com for more handwashing information.

**photo is from the K-State Collegian, credited to Steven Doll**

***Letter to the editor***
Manhattan Mercury
p. A6
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 25 per cent of the 76 million annual cases of foodborne illness in the U.S. could be eliminated with proper handwashing.
Based on the available evidence, proper handwashing consists of:
o wet hands with water;
o use soap;
o lather all over hands by scrubbing vigorously, creating friction, reaching all areas of the hands, wrists and between fingers, and counting to at least fifteen; o rinse hands; and, o dry hands, preferably with paper towel.
The all-in-one handwashing units at the Manhattan Town Center and K-State student union restrooms may be insufficient to control the spread of dangerous microorganisms  (Look, Ma, no handles, Manhattan Mercury, Dec. 28/06). The washing time before the hand dryer is activated appears inadequate, as does the drying procedure itself. Any remaining moisture can support bacterial growth, or can limit people from washing their hands in the first place (who wants damp hands?). Anecdotal reports from campus reveal that some find the units inconvenient and that soap sometimes misses hands when being dispensed.
One research study found that average bacterial counts were reduced when towels (either cloth or paper) were used to dry hands, the most significant decrease being with paper towels; hot air dryers produced a highly significant increase in all bacteria on hands.
Another study concluded that dangerous bacteria could survive handwashing with soap and water if hands were not dried thoroughly with paper towels. The friction created when drying hands with paper towel removes additional microorganisms.
Proper handwashing begins with access to proper tools. That is why paper towels are a necessary addition to any public bathroom.
Doug Powell
Associate Professor
KSU Food Safety Network
1729 Pierre St