Sep
18
2010

Sponsored research yields advertisment

Dyson hand dryer
Dyson hand dryerCourtesy Mr T in DC

How you dry your hands matters

Dyson, who makes a new type of "airblade" hand dryer, funded research which showed regular hot-air hand dryers could make your hands "germier".

When volunteers kept their hands still, the dryers reduced skin bacteria numbers by around 37 per cent compared to just after washing. But the count rose by 18 per cent when volunteers rubbed their hands under one of the machines. Paper towels proved the most efficient, halving the bacterial count even though volunteers rubbed their hands. That's because the towels actually scrape off the bacteria. Journal of Applied Microbiology

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Reading this research paper made me think it was a commercial message written by the Dyson advertising department.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Shana's picture
Shana says:

That does sound fishy.
I like the airblade, though, just because it actually dries my hands (versus those old ones--I think my hands would dry faster with me blowing on them!). I also like that one called xcelerator. These new driers are especially rad for me because I have to make sure my hands are totally dry or they could break out in eczema. I used to carry mini hand towels in my purse just in case I used a bathroom without paper towels.

posted on Mon, 09/20/2010 - 9:54am
bryan kennedy's picture

Hmm, it's surely worth looking at where the funding comes from in scientific research. However, corporately funded research and useless partial research aren't always synonymous. Can you point to any other factors that lead you to think that this research is inaccurate? Are their methodologies poor? Did they ignore data that support a different hypothesis.

I suppose the ideal would be an impartially funded study, but that's not always the reality. As a matter of fact the research paper describes a dearth of study in the area of hand drying.

There was some hubbub about this study when it came out in 2007 because some of the science news outlets attached a claim that you might as well not wash your hands at all if you use traditional hand dryers. However, this claim isn't in the research paper. This rather detailed analysis of the report notes the research funding bias, but also points out the scientifically valid parts of the research. I'd say all in all this research is a valid contribution to the understanding of how germs can be limited in hand washing.

posted on Mon, 09/20/2010 - 3:39pm

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