Did you know bacterial contamination of machinery used in the pulp and paper industry is a huge concern for manufacturers?
Apparently bacterial contamination from machinery can be transferred to the end paper products and these bacteria can end up on your freshly clean hands! Yikes!
Now for the really bad news…A pilot study looking at the possibility of hand contamination from unused paper towels found bacteria were easily transferred to disposable nitrile gloves when drying hands with paper towels.
The most commonly cultured bacteria from paper towel brands was Bacillus, an endotoxin producing bacteria which includes the highly fatal B. Anthrax and the less fatal, food borne illness type B. Cereus.
The good news is this study found no evidence of bacterial airborne transmission during paper towel dispensing.
The rub for the environmentalists among us…paper towels made from recycled pulp harbored between 100 to 1,000 fold MORE bacteria than virgin wood pulp brands!
This pilot study confirms my green belief that using primarily cloth around the house, instead of paper towels is ultimately the best way to heal the environment and protect ones health at the same time.
For more information check out the New Bad Bug Book, from the FDA or link to the journal abstract, Evaluation of bacterial contaminants found on unused paper towels and possible postcontamination after handwashing: A pilot study.