TECHNOLOGY firm Dyson is trying to trace the health worker who claims to have grown fungus from the air produced by a toilet hand-drier.

Nichole Ward's post about the 'experiment' has gone viral with nearly 500,000 sharing the dramatic results.

Ms Ward from California claims the fungus grew within a few days of placing a Petri dish into the hand-drier of a public toilet for three minutes.

Ms Ward, a clinical co-ordinator for a home care firm, who claimed to have some knowledge of microbiology, posted a picture of her 'experiment' and announced: "This is the several strains of possible pathogenic fungi and bacteria that you’re swirling around your hands, and you think you’re walking out with clean hands. #nomorehanddryers #outlaw #spreadthenews."


The results quickly captured the imagination of the online Facebook audience, and it has been shared over nearly 500,000 times.

Now Dyson, makers of the Airblade, who have long complained about the paper towel industry sponsoring research into the hygiene implications of different hand-drying methods, has made moves to contact Ms Ward about her findings. The firm has so far drawn a blank.

A Dyson source said they were "keen to engage" saying they are approaching the research with an "open mind" but said the widely shared post did not contain enough information to support the "strong conclusion" it reached.

A spokesman added: "If the Petri dish was simply placed inside the aperture of a hand dryer and left there for three minutes as the wording of the post suggests, then what has effectively happened is sampling of the washroom air and similar results would be expected if the plate was left out in the open anywhere else in the washroom for three minutes."


As the fallout over the post continued, Ms Ward altered her Facebook script to say: "This post is simply for awareness, not to instil fear."

Ms Ward claims it was her own experiment and denied claims that it was just "fake news".

"This is literally what grows once incubated. It’s the very contaminates that you’re drying your hands with but you cannot see with the naked eye until it’s incubated," she said.

"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. So the enclosed [driers] are the worst. But not much worse as the older ones that you push the silver button and dry that way."