Guwahati: The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the public into a hygiene frenzy. Earlier, only selected people used to carry or use hand sanitisers, however now, everyone wants a means of instant sanitisation.
However, the public health emergency has lead to a sudden splurge in demand for hand sanitisers, and given opportunity to adultered and non-effective products to infiltrate the market.
The Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) recently studied hand sanitisers available in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Thane (all in Maharashtra). It tested hand sanitizer sample purchased from the market and against the alcohol contents as per claims made on the product.
CGSI carried out “Gas Chromatography” testing of the hand sanitizer samples in nationally accredited laboratory in August 2020.
It was found that of the total 122 samples tested, around 40% products do not comply with specifications as declared on their labels.
Further, 5 samples, that is, 4% were found to containing toxic Methanol instead of and are harmful for harmful for use.
The report said, "Sanitizers containing TOXIC METHANOL (a primary alcohol) do not qualify as an ingredient on the label as it is a banned item. Sale of natural ethanol is strictly regulated and so impossible to obtain without alcohol permit. Denatured synthetic alcohols although available without permit or regulatory compliance are however very expensive. Some manufacturers to get over these problems avoid using ethyl alcohol and instead use TOXIC METHYL ALCOHOL as replacement. Unscrupulous manufacturers could use branded container packing for marketers to sell spurious methanol-based sanitizers."
Methanol is a poisonous liquid, and once absorbed into the body, it can cause various issues.
12 samples, that is 10% of the total were found without any claims
1 sample, which is around 1% of the 122 samples, was found infective against COVID-19 or any other virus.