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Japan Lifts Ban on Hand Dryers 

Japan Lifts Ban on Hand Dryers 
20 April 2021

The Japan Business Federation has revised its COVID-19 guidelines regarding the use of hand dryers, asking businesses and commercial facilities to use them again.

According to The Japan Times, the Japan Business Federation (known as Keidanren) is lifting the ban on hand dryers in office and factory washrooms due to insufficient evidence that it contributes to the spread of coronavirus. A study on the matter was commissioned with the Hygiene & Microbiology Research Centre in Tokyo, and it was found that the risk of infection from microdroplets in the air after handwashing is “extremely low”.

The restrictions on the usage of electric hand dryers began in May 2020. Attempts were made in December 2020 to lift the ban, but it was eventually confirmed on 13 April 2020.

However, Keidanren is calling for hand dryers to be disinfected with alcohol and kept stringently clean.

A Keidanren official told the news service: 

“We have confirmed that hand dryers do not spread infections. We need to take steps based on evidence, rather than accepting certain views without question.”


What is the Official Advice Worldwide?


As reported in ThisWeekinFM, back in May, the UK government joined WHO and the CDC in approving the use of hand dryers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government’s “Working safely during Coronavirus” guidance states that to help everyone keep good hygiene throughout the working day, businesses should provide hand drying facilities in the form of either paper towels or electrical dryers.

Many UK facilities anticipate some building visitors to feel actively uncomfortable at using hand dryers and therefore provide both options in washrooms – as it seems that  UK government and WHO guidance aside, there are clearly still doubts for many individuals when it comes to using hand dryers. Whether this is due to the appearance of scientific studies that appear to counter the advice that these dryers are safe, or personal preference for using disposable towels instead.

Picture: a photograph of a person washing their hands under a tap

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 April 2021


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