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Research map:
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Creative communication project: A fictional attack ad for a fictional product alternative of the makers of my original claim. It’s meant to show that companies who aren’t transparent and who don’t make their evidence readily available create weak spots in their brand image that competing products could take advantage of.

On Amazon, I found an extremely expensive (over $200), antibacterial handheld vacuum. An antibacterial vacuum didn’t make sense to me (and neither did the price), so I went to their website to investigate. Raycop, a Korean-based home appliance company, has a line of bed and linens vacuums that use UV-C light to “…kill 99% of bacteria and eliminate 93.5% of dust mites on beds, linens and other fabrics.” Their website summarized two studies done by Japanese research labs that tested, and supposedly proved, Raycop’s effectiveness. Through a trail of Google searches, I found no documentation or mention of these studies (except for a PDF link with study details that I was suspiciously denied access to…) I emailed them about more information, and they replied with a reiteration of information on their website. Since their tests didn’t come up, I investigated the technology they use (UV-C sterilization). Thanks to two(1, 2) UV light company websites, I was able to understand how UV-C sterilization works: at a certain wavelength (indicated by the “-C”) UV light will destroy a bacteria’s ability to reproduce, rendering it powerless. While rendering bacteria inactive could possibly be a favorable strategy in terms of avoiding antibacterial resistance, the vacuum does not kill bacteria like Raycop claims.

I then found a study done by the American Society for Microbiology that supports this method’s effectiveness in preventing the spread of bacteria. I skimmed Raycop’s site again to find four separate awards Raycop has earned. I also found a few articles of acclaim for Raycop, one of which mentioned the worsening state of allergy problems in the Philippines and how Raycop vacuums have helped, though it is not clear how allergy problems relate to the company’s bacterial claims. Raycop vacuums won’t kill any bacteria and their stats aren’t verifiable, but there is a chance that these products do actually help allergies and prevent sickness. (I just refuse to pay over $200 for a handheld vacuum!)

Credit: Olive Light