Unused Paper Towel: A Hub for Bacteria?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 20, 2011

Unused paper towel A hub for bacteria

Toilet paper from public washroom is a hub for bacteria, suggest a Canadian study.     

Researchers of the study have found bacteria on the unused paper towel. This includes some of the bacteria that can make you sick. Furthermore, some of these bacteria that were found could even transfer after washing hands.

The main researcher of the study said that their work doesn’t imply that paper towels are unsafe. It is just to make people aware of the unwanted source of contamination. Experts are of view that the findings of this study are useful for people living in isolation units of hospitals, especially for those who are with weakened immune system.

In this study six towel brands (sold in Canada) were examined, all of them had germs. Furthermore, the recycled paper towels were found to be heavily contaminated. The most common bacterial species found on the towel was Bacillus. There was 17 other kind of bacteria that were transferable and linked to food poisoning.

One of the reasons given by the researchers for this contamination was the bacteria in paper industry that passes to the paper product. In addition harmful toxin-producing Bacillus species were also detected in paper mills. Due to their high resistance to chemical agents bacteria such as Bacillus manage to survive through the papermaking process.  

The concentration level of bacteria in recycled paper was 100 to 1000 times higher than that of the virgin wood pulp brand. However, in the study there was no illness was found to be connected to the use of paper towel.

According to the germ experts this study is an eye opener but it must not become a reason or excuse for healthy people to stop using paper towel.

Angela Golden from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, says that 20 seconds hand wash with soap and water is still the rule, especially after increase exposure to germs.


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