Over the years, hand sanitisers have grown in popularity. Anyone who has ever had to commute or travel has found hand sanitisers to be a godsend. Since they’re conveniently packaged in smaller units and come in gel, liquid or foam form, they’re suitable for people on the go.
So, even before COVID-19 entered the picture, people have been using sanitisers for hand hygiene. They’re a great alternative for keeping the hands clean when soap and water are unavailable. However, alcohol, a key ingredient in hand sanitisers, is known to dry the skin. What enterprising manufacturers have done is to add emollients or moisturising ingredients to address this problem.
With the arrival of COVID, health authorities emphasised the importance of hand hygiene to prevent viral transmission. This led to a sudden increase in demand for alcohol, hand sanitisers, and household cleaning products. The temporary product shortages that followed led to price surges in these products. Some businesses jumped on the bandwagon and began producing hand sanitisers, too.
Problems with mislabelling
Of late, concerns were raised regarding the efficacy of hand sanitiser brands in Australia. CHOICE, a leading independent consumer advocacy group in the country, conducted hand sanitiser testing on different brands in batches.
CHOICE commissioned the National Measurement Institute (NMI) to handle the lab tests, and this led to some interesting results. It was revealed that some brands labelled their products to contain at least 60% alcohol — even though their products contained a lot less. The test results were shared with the brands in question, leading to immediate action, including product recalls.
The NMI used the gas chromatography with flame ionisation detection (GC-FID) testing method for this study. This method measures the amount of ethanol and isopropanol content in each sample. GC-FID is internationally accepted as the gold standard among tests designed to determine the presence of alcohol and the amount contained in certain products.
Today, the recommended minimum amount of alcohol for effective hand sanitisers is set at 60% to 80%. However, this percentage also depends on the type of alcohol used. The World Health Organization (WHO) standard is 80% ethanol or 75% isopropyl alcohol. In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) requires an alcohol content of at least 60%. This minimum requirement by the TGA is based on findings that at least 60% alcohol is needed to disrupt the lipid viral envelope of viruses.
The margin of error for the tests was set at a 10-percentage point, which is normally applied in scientific testing. What health experts advise consumers is to wash their hands when soap and water are available. If not, they should opt for a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol.
FeverMates test results
At FeverMates, we have subjected our Instant Hand Sanitiser products to testing at the Eurofins | ams Laboratories this year.
The tests yielded results confirming FeverMates hand sanitiser product efficacy at 30-second and 60-second contact times. The tests also validated the ‘anti-bacterial’ and ‘Kills 99.99% of Germs’ claims stated on FeverMates hand sanitiser product labels.
Aside from the assurance of effectiveness we give our consumers, all our hand sanitiser products contain 70% ethanol. And while similar products have been mistakenly ingested as food or drink due to ambiguous packaging, this is not a problem with FeverMates hand sanitisers. Our products come in clear plastic bottles that are appropriately labelled. There is also a warning label on the back of our hand sanitiser products.
FeverMates Instant Hand Sanitiser is proudly Australian-made, and we always strive to provide the best quality products for our customers’ health and well-being.