- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dyson, the British company responsible for making high-powered hand dryers installed in bathrooms the world over, has fired back after researchers accused its Airblade jet dryer of being hardly hygenical.

The Wiltshire-based tech company has attracted an influx of bad press since the Journal of Applied Microbiology published a report in January that raised questions about the effectiveness of the Dyson Airblade, a jet-powered hand dryer that uses blasts of hot air to eliminate wetness in lieu of paper towels or more traditional machines.

Patrick Kimmitt and Keith Redway of the University of Westminster in London measured how paper towels, standard hand dryers and the Dyson Airblade compared with respect to spreading viruses, concluded that the latter disperses upwards of 1,400-times more than paper towels.

“The results of this study suggest that in locations where hygiene and cross-infection considerations are paramount, such as healthcare settings and the food industry, the choice of hand-drying method should be considered carefully,” the authors concluded.

Amid a wave of negative publicity stemming from the researcher’s report, Dyson disputed the group’s findings.

“The paper towel industry has scaremongered with this [type of] research for the past four years,” Dyson said in a statement provided to The Independent.

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“It has been conducted under artificial conditions, using unrealistically high levels of virus contamination on unwashed, gloved hands,” continued the statement, which also cited four separate studies that suggest the Airblade is hygienically-sound.

Dr. Kimmitt, one of the Westminster study’s co-authors, defended his research and noted that his findings underwent “a rigorous process of peer review by three expert, independent reviewers” before it was published earlier this year.

“In addition, the fact remains that many individuals do not wash their hands thoroughly and/or do not use any kind of soap or sanitizer and this means that if their hands are contaminated with a pathogen it may still be present after ‘washing.’ We were testing this scenario in our study,” he added.

Dyson previously claimed in 2014 that “questionable reports commissioned and reported by the paper towel and cotton roll towel manufacturers” had attempted to portray the Airblade as unhygienic, and that the product reduces the spreading of germs by upwards of 40 percent compared to other methods, The Independent reported.

The authors of the most recent study are both members of Westminster University’s Department of Biomedical Sciences.

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