01 Mar Facts About Hand Sanitizer Gel in Ireland
Hand sanitizer Gel is everywhere right now! Right? Well, let’s take a look back into the history of the product and recent applications and formulations that make hand sanitizer gel such a commonly used product and a controversial one at that.
The history of Hand Sanitizer Gel
To understand why hand sanitizer has become so popular we need to look back in history a little. Back in the 1800’s alcohol was used as an antiseptic on wounds etc. The precise location and origin is a cause for debate, but the antiseptic strengths of the product are not in question. Over the years alcohol was used to sterilize and disinfect surgery instruments but it wasn’t until the mid-1900’s that it became a product readily available for general use by the public as a hand disinfectant.
It seems that a German manufacturer brought a popular product to the shelves called Sterillium, a 75% based alcohol product made with glycerin. Glycerin is a widely used compound found in alcohol-based hand sanitizers, boasting antibacterial properties, also commonly used in burn wound products. It brings a moisturizing element to these harsher products when applied directly onto the skin.
The strengths and weaknesses of Hand Sanitizer
While hand sanitizer has its strengths it also has its weaknesses too. One being flammable and having a high flashpoint when exposed to ignition or naked flame. Storage can be an issue, depending on temperatures and surrounding elements. Alcohol hand sanitizer is generally formulated with different types of alcohol including, isopropyl, ethanol, or the more flammable methanol. The later methanol is an ingredient with a much higher flash-point. The Irish government found this out in 2020 when they had to recall over 7 million euros in stock of this product which was wrongly placed into the Irish market under a license derogation from the department of agriculture. The only positive from this embarrassment is that the system is tighter and the governance and compliance are much tighter.
The application of the product
The application of hand sanitizer is a tricky one. Especially since the pandemic of early 2020. Coronavirus has put a huge demand on all businesses to put a dispensing system or wall-mounted hand dosing unit in place. The trouble is that when panic buying kicks in people make mistakes and just buy what they can when they can. Unfortunately from the general public’s perspective, this means that the end-user experience is a very mixed one. In one retail setting, you may have a regulated hand sanitizer that delivers the efficacy it should and just next door in the other business owner may have a surface disinfectant, not suitable for hands, being dispensed in a un-labelled, spray bottle, where the general public are expected to trust and use this product, not very appealing in a time when confidence in our surroundings and environs is paramount.
The regulations in Ireland
During the covid early days back in March 2020, Ireland saw a huge demand for hand sanitiser and associated products within the Irish system. Mistakes were made, with staff members working from home. However, since the unfortunate release of a methanol-based alcohol hand gel into the market things have improved somewhat. The other unfortunate and important note to make is that we do not know how much-unregulated hand sanitizer is in the market. The simplest way is to always read the label, always ensure that a PCS code is present, usually a 6 digit code, and can be checked here on the biocidal regulations page. If you cannot verify if a product is registered, the best practice is to simply walk away, do not apply to your hands, and certainly don’t purchase no matter how cost-effective it is.
The future of hand sanitizer
The future of hand sanitizer is bright, companies are working tirelessly to find less corrosive, less flammable, less environmentally harmful sanitizers that also offer better protection in our ever-changing and ever-demanding lives. One of these products is Xtra Protect, found here https://www.wardhygiene.com/xtra-protect-5ltr. This product is both a dual hand and surface sanitiser that work as a foaming hand sanitizer. So cost-effective, PCS registered, laboratory certified, and boasts an 8-day anti-bacterial action is a long way off from the hand sanitizers of old.
Customers, in general, are looking for alternatives to alcohol hand gel, they are tired of using products that are harmful to their hands and environments. The science speaks for itself when choosing a hand or surface sanitizer, look at the labelling, look at the company providing the product, look at the PCS registration, look at how it is being dispensed, then ask yourself is this safe for my children, family, and friends? If not well the answer is plain and clear, walk away you just might be safer without it.