Labeling helps consumers make sure that they are not duped

Sanitisers must be worth their salt

SABS says people should be careful not to buy uncertified hand sanitisers. Sanitisers are in demand due to Covid-19.
SABS says people should be careful not to buy uncertified hand sanitisers. Sanitisers are in demand due to Covid-19.
Image: Gallo Images/Roger Sedres

Not all who claim to sanitise are sanitisers, consumers have been warned. The public has been urged to be more alert when purchasing hand sanitizers as some of them might not even be up to the standard of sanitizing they claim.

Even though the country has stepped down to level one lockdown, people are still expected to wear masks and use hand sanitizers to curb the further spread of covid-19. 

“As many of these spray bottles are unlabelled, there is a large question mark over the exact ingredients of the contents and whether they actually contain the required levels of alcohol required to effectively neutralise the Covid-19 virus,” says Annete Devenish, marketing manager  at infection protection products Sani-Touch .

Devenish adds that the SABS 490, correct labeling, NRCS registration number is a very important indicator for legitimate hand sanitisers and wipes .

“Check the ingredients with percentages, warnings and precautions and efficacy tests stipulated on the label. Manufacturers details are also important. If it claims to be a surface sanitizer it must by law have a NRCS registration number printed on the label”

According to Devenish, wipes are more suitable than hand sanitisers as the latter covers a portion of the surface area compared to wipes which cover a large surface area.

“Spraying a trolley handle with a sanitiser only acts as a wash-down given that its distribution is wide and somewhat erratic, which means that much of its effect will be wasted in the atmosphere. A spray therefore provides no guarantee that the sanitiser is evenly distributed as it is likely to only land in the spray direction,” she quotes scientist Bernard Reeksting.

Devenish also warns against the constant use of alcohol-based sanitizers, especially on rubber and brittle surfaces and for the skin.

“A high level of alcohol would not be suitable for longer use – high alcohol is a solvent which will cause screens to dull and plastics to become brittle over time. Brittle plastics, rubber and other surfaces crack, causing splits and crevices which are then ideal breeding places for germs and microorganisms which are then very hard to clean and sanitise. Continual use of high alcohol is bad for surfaces and bad for skin.”

According to Devennete wipes do contain 10% alcohol as well as Quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) which is also on the list for effective chemicals against Covid, including soap.

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