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Why SA govt needs to urgently regulate the production of hand sanitisers

24 October 2020 12:08 PM
Tags:
Hand sanitiser
alcohol-based hand sanitiser

Hand hygiene has become a critical part of the response to Covid-19, but not all hand sanitisers are up to scratch or even certified.

Researcher Willeke de Bruin says South Africa has been behind the curve in putting in place measures to ensure that sanitisers are safe and effective.

De Bruin is the co-author of an article published on The Conversation, titled South Africans aren’t being protected from fake sanitisers: what needs to be done.

She says there aren't any proper laws regulating the production of hand sanitisers in the country.

She says labelling requirements should be standardised and enforced in order to protect South Africans from fake products making false claims.

RELATED: You may be using a hand sanitiser that doesn't work against Covid, expert warns

De Bruin argues that every bottle of hand sanitiser should contain the following information:

  • an alcohol content of at least 70%;
  • a list of the active and inactive ingredients and the adverse effects they may cause;
  • instructions for use;
  • mandatory warnings;
  • the batch code and expiry date; and
  • the full address of the manufacturer.

Moreover, she believes that products that don’t comply with specifications or are not properly labelled should not be sold or provided in public spaces.

What we've been told by the SABS is that a hand sanitiser is legit when it has the SABS mark of approval on it.

Willeke de Bruin, Postdoctoral fellow - Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (University of Pretoria)

If you go on the SABS website and you search for companies that are registered to produce hand sanitisers that follow this standard, you find two companies that are registered in the entire country.

Willeke de Bruin, Postdoctoral fellow - Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (University of Pretoria)

We've been shopping. We've analysed 60 products so far. Just on labelling requirements in accordance with this specific standard, only 10 out of the 60 comply.

Willeke de Bruin, Postdoctoral fellow - Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (University of Pretoria)

This is concerning. As a consumer, you have no idea what you're buying.

Willeke de Bruin, Postdoctoral fellow - Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (University of Pretoria)

There's no law in South Africa that forces any company to comply with certain standards. They are all voluntary.

Willeke de Bruin, Postdoctoral fellow - Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (University of Pretoria)

Listen to the discussion for more:


24 October 2020 12:08 PM
Tags:
Hand sanitiser
alcohol-based hand sanitiser

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