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Hand sanitisers in and around Tshwane substandard: UP study

Dec 07, 2021

By Hajira Khota 

According to a scientist from the University Of Pretoria (UP) Commercial, off-the-shelf hand sanitisers used by the general population in Gauteng and Tshwane, do not have the recommended alcohol concentration, and are frequently mislabeled according to local and international norms.

Sanitiser solutions did not contain alcohol compositions for ethanol and isopropanol as suggested by the World Health Organization in the great majority of the items examined during the study (WHO). Most of them didn’t contain the 70 percent ethanol that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.

Hand sanitisers are the first line of defence against COVID-19, and because alcohol content and concentrations are essential for virucidal activity, these data point to a general lack of adherence to the required composition.

According to Dr Abdullahi Ahmed Yusuf, Senior Lecturer in Entomology in UP’s Department of Zoology and Entomology in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences who spoke to Radio Islam International; he says that the findings of the study, which involved testing a range of readily available sanitisers in the Tshwane area for compliance with international standards, are concerning.

“Preparing alcohol-based hand sanitisers using the WHO’s instructions for local formulations remains a superior choice than purchasing poor off-the-shelf goods in the absence of suitable quality control procedures”.

In the wake of preventative measures against COVID-19, the presence of products on the market and in public places that do not qualify as alcohol-based hand sanitisers and are not appropriately labelled poses a significant risk to consumers, especially because hand hygiene and disinfection remains one of the most (if not the only) effective actions for mitigating the disease available at this time. As a result, by increasing the odds of transmission via contaminated surfaces, utilising poor items unwittingly exposes the population to the virus.

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