Hand sanitisers fail to scrub up to standard, find tests

Hand sanitisers fail to scrub up to standard, find tests

Consumer activists have found that 67% of alcohol-based hand sanitisers available on the market are substandard. One brand was even found to contain methanol -- a toxic ingredient prohibited from use in cosmetics.

Secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers Saree Aongsomwang said the foundation randomly tested 39 alcohol-based hand gel products sold in physical and online stores to see if their alcohol concentrations met the minimum level set by the Ministry of Public Health.

The foundation found that 13 of the 39 brands contained over 70% alcohol as required while the remaining 26 had a lower amount. One brand was even found to contain methanol, or methyl alcohol, a restricted ingredient.

The Ministry of Public Health currently prohibits the manufacture, import and sale of alcohol-based hand sanitisers with less than 70% alcohol.

Alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel is now classed as a cosmetic after the spread of Covid-19. Before that, it was treated as a medical product and had to comply with stricter requirements.

Director of the Pharmaceutical Technology Service Center, Chulalongkorn University, Dr Vorasit Vongsutilers, who oversaw the test, said that some samples from the same producer under different brands had met the required standard while others had not.

A number of products were labelled as containing 75% alcohol but test results showed only 70%. Although these brands met the minimum concentration level, they could be accused of false labelling.

"The results clearly show that there is a problem in the market," said Dr Vorasit.

Effective alcohol-based hand gels must contain over 70% alcohol and should not dry out too quickly when used to give enough time for the alcohol to kill germs on the skin.

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