Keeping safe while sanitising

Keeping safe while sanitising

Burt Rodrigues, CEO of  Biodx, and dermatologist Dr Selwyn Schwartz give their insights into hand sanitisers.

“The latest research carried out by accredited laboratory SciCorp in KwaZulu-Natal has shown that out of 11 hand sanitisers – nine bought from stores and two samples given out at the entrance to a mall or shop – five were found to be non-compliant,” says Rodrigues. “This means they didn’t contain the minimum 70% alcohol content, as required by law.

“What was particularly frightening to note was that labels on two of the products claimed to have 70% alcohol content, while in reality, one had 46,3% ethanol and another, claiming to have 85% alcohol, had 54,9% propanol. This at a time when people’s very lives depend on trusting these sanitisers, not only to keep them free of Covid-19 but also not to cause irreparable harm to their skin or health.”

Skin reactions to sanitisers

“There are two major types of skin reactions that could be caused by hand sanitising, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the United States,” warns Rodrigues. “Most common would be dryness, irritation, itching and even cracking and bleeding – or a stronger allergic reaction to an ingredient in a particular product which could cause respiratory distress and even anaphylaxis.”

He adds that in any one day people are using hand sanitisers innumerable times without knowing just how many times that product is safe to use within that time frame. “And that’s assuming it’s a safe product in the first place. With this in mind we’re currently developing an alcohol-free, 99,999% kill rate hand sanitiser called vitrodx® hand with b bioactive, which is not only safer than alcohol but effective for up to seven hours.”

Tips from a respected dermatologist

According to a leading Johannesburg dermatologist, Dr Selwyn Schwartz, by far the best and safest way to keep your skin safe and healthy is to rather wash with soap and water when you can. “If you have the option of using sanitiser or soap and water, then definitely choose the latter, which will ensure you are moisturising as well as keeping the virus at bay. People who are in and out of buildings and shops where the only options are sanitisers should try and wash with soap and water as soon as they can and then moisturise with hand cream.”

Preventing sanitiser-damaged skin

• Use your own sanitiser (one you’ve verified is effective and safe) when entering and leaving any space;
• Wear gloves that you can sanitise – washing your hands before and after wear; and
• Where possible wash with soap and water rather than using sanitiser.

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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