Hand dryers: manufacturers complain about Corona requirements  

In its anniversary year 2021, ELECTROSTAR achieves record sales of over 60 million euros.

Stuttgart/Ebersbach, 06. 11. 2020   Electric hand dryers are always struggling with the image of being "virus slingers". As a precautionary measure to protect against Corona, officials advise against using them. This puts the manufacturers on edge.

The background to this is, in particular, a new Corona occupational health and safety stipulation from the summer that electric hand dryers should not be used in restrooms and washrooms to reduce the risk of infection and that disposable towels should be used instead. According to the industry, there is no independent scientific basis for this. The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health points to a preventive approach, saying the risk has not been conclusively clarified.

  "This is destroying a branch of industry," criticizes the managing director of the manufacturer Electrostar from Ebersbach an der Fils, Roman Gorovoy. The industry association EHA (Electric Handdryer Association), of which Gorovoy is one of the initiators, already launched a social media campaign several months ago, among other things, with the aim of stopping the banning of dryers from washrooms and toilets. According to Gorovoy himself and also the association, they have written to federal and state authorities, so far without the desired success. One sets on dialogue, reserves itself however also legal steps, said Gorovoy.

The manufacturers' central criticism is that the recommendations and specifications are based solely on fears. But they ensured that hand dryers would be turned off or imposed as a precaution in public restrooms or restaurants, for example. "That immediately implies to the consumer: hand dryers are dangerous," Gorovoy said. "It creates a huge competitive disadvantage." In the meantime, he said, hardly any new units are being sold, and potential customers are confused.

Electrostar makes about 15 percent of its roughly 45 million euros in sales from Starmix-brand hand dryers. The market share is also about 15 percent, according to Gorovoy. About 25 to 30 of the total 200 jobs in Ebersbach depended directly on it.

The question of whether electric hand dryers promote the spread of viruses was discussed long before the Corona pandemic broke out. Studies sometimes come to one more or less unambiguous conclusion and sometimes to another - depending also on which side commissioned or financed them. There are studies commissioned by the paper industry. The dryer manufacturer Dyson, for example, has also commissioned research for itself.

Gorovoy and the association argue there is no clear independent evidence that hand dryers pose a greater risk than paper towels. "Studies on the hygiene of different forms of hand drying turn out differently depending on the study," the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health also says. "In addition, many studies were financially supported by respective stakeholders from industry." A conclusive neutral evaluation is currently not known.

 The World Health Organization (WHO), for example, cites hand dryers in connection with Corona as an alternative to paper towels, but also emphasizes elsewhere that further studies are needed on the spread of the virus through aerosols. Manufacturers also refer to the WHO, among others, and cite an older study that comes to similar conclusions. The German Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), on the other hand, recommends that clean disposable towels should be used in preference.

"The topic is currently still the subject of controversial international debate," the federal agency informs. "In the spirit of a preventive approach of government regulations for infection control, the use of electric hand dryers, which in any case can cause additional air circulation in rooms, is therefore currently not recommended."

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- a piece of German industrial history that is being continued with great success in the 21st century. The industrious Swabians have been manufacturing vacuum cleaners since 1921 and invented the hot-air hand dryer four years later. In the years of the economic miracle, starmix achieved world renown: the universal starmix kitchen machine became a bestseller that no good household could do without. Today, ELECTROSTAR GmbH, which has been part of the Algo Group since 2007, stands for innovative technologies, outstanding quality and uncompromising customer orientation. Under the starmix brand, the company develops, produces and sells a wide range of powerful vacuum cleaners for trade, commerce and industry worldwide. From the starmix sanitary business field, modern warm air and high-speed hand and hair dryers as well as an extensive hospitality product range complete the portfolio. Since the acquisition of Haaga Kehrsysteme GmbH in 2012, innovative sweepers have also been part of the product range. In 2020, ELECTROSTAR/starmix and Haaga Kehrsysteme merged. The company employs around 200 people at its sites in Ebersbach. The two brands starmix and Haaga generated a turnover of around 41 million euros in 2020.
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