A recent investigation by SciCorp Laboratories revealed that almost half of hand sanitisers do not comply with government regulations that they should contain at least 70% alcohol.
For this investigation, 11 hand sanitisers were tested. All but one of them claimed to contain more than 70% alcohol.
The hand sanitisers were tested for ethanol, propanol, and isopropanol, and five of the 11 samples were found to contain less than 70% alcohol.
A TimesLive report by Wendy Knowler revealed that two of the hand sanitisers which claimed to contain 70% and 85% alcohol respectively only contained 46% and 55% alcohol.
What makes the situation worse is that many hand sanitiser manufacturers falsely claim to be South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)-compliant by putting the SABS logo on their products.
SABS lead administrator Jodi Scholtz said they have received 550 queries by consumers and companies related to hand sanitisers since March 2020.
She confirmed they have issued cease-and-desist letters to hand sanitiser manufacturers which falsely claimed to be SABS-compliant.
Scholtz added that they have also opened criminal cases with the police and lodged damage claims against companies.
No compulsory standards
Consumers should note that the SABS standards applicable to hand sanitisers – SANS 490 and SANS 1853 – are voluntary standards at this stage.
This means any manufacturer which approaches the SABS for certification of their product does so on a voluntary basis.
Scholtz added that they do not have enforcement capabilities. “When we do contact companies, it would be around the infringement on using the SABC mark and not the product itself,” she said.
She said enforcement is done by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), which tests products and seizes non-compliant products.
For consumers to safeguard themselves against poor-quality hand sanitisers, Scholtz advised them to look for the SANS 490 and SANS 1853 standards on bottles.
“The products should have those two standards in addition to specifying what hand sanitiser it, the manufacturer’s details and the company’s registration details,” she said.
SABS-approved hand sanitiser manufacturers
Scholtz advised consumers to purchase products from their list of reputable manufacturers who have regularly tested their products with the SABS.
|Branson Chemicals (Pty) Ltd||http://www.bransonchemicals.co.za/||Dermasan Alcohol Sanitiser|
|Blendwell Chemicals (Pty) Ltd||https://www.blendwell.co.za/||Pearl Hand Cleaner|
|Bitek (Pty) Ltd||http://bitek.co.za/||HandSan|
|Chemical Convertors (Pty) Ltd||http://www.chemicalconvertors.co.za/||Antibac Hand Gel|
|Chemtron Holdings (Pty) Ltd||https://www.chemtron.co.za/||Steri Hands|
|Deluxe Chemicals CC||https://deluxe.co.za/||DC Handrub|
|Dynachem (Pty) Ltd||https://www.dynachem.co.za/||STERISPRAY Pick ‘n Pay Sanitiser
|Ecolab (Pty) Ltd||https://www.ecolab.com/||HandSan Gel|
|Gea Africa (Pty) Ltd||https://www.gea.com/||Bactrojell
|Infection Production Products (Pty) Ltd||https://sanitouch.co.za/||Sanitouch – Sanispray|
|Kenchem||—||Magic Hand Gel|
|Mega Magic CC||https://www.megamagic.co.za/||Sanihand|
|Medichem (Pty) Ltd||https://www.medichem.co.za/||Sanirub|
|NWL Netherland Production B.V.||—||Spray Cleanser Alcohol Hand Rub
Flexi Enriched Foam Alcohol Plus Hand Rub
|Redchem||—||ALCOHOL WIPE SOLUTION,
Hand Sanitizer / Twinsaver 912
|Richbay Chemicals (Pty) Ltd||http://www.richbay.co.za/||Waterless Hand Sanitiser|
|Safarmex (Pty) Ltd||http://www.safarmex.co.za/||GERMKILL|
|SAFIC (Pty) Ltd||https://www.safic.co.za/||Sanipure|
|Safety Chemicals CC||http://safetychemicals.co.za/||Hand Spray|
|Spectank (Pty) Ltd||https://www.spectank.co.za/||Resan Hand Sanitizer / Pick n’ Pay Hand Sanitizer|
|Specialised Maintenance Products (Pty) Ltd||https://www.smp.co.za/||Betasan AntiBacteriall Gel
Betasan AntiBacterial Hand Gel Non Fragranced
|Touchless Germ Control Western Cape CC||http://www.germstar.co.za/||GERMSTAR Hand Sanitiser
HEALTHY SPLASH Hand Sanitiser
HEALTHY SPLASH Antibacterial Soap
|Hymed (Pty) Ltd||https://www.hymed.co.za/||Betaspray liquid hand sanitizer
Betasan Alcohol Free Hand