15 June 2020Due to the worldwide pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the use and demand for alcohol-based hand sanitisers has increased substantially.
The aim of a hand rub is to reduce the number of micro-organisms on hands with a short contact time and without the use of water. For these practical reasons, alcohols like Ethanol and Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or combinations of both are the most appropriate and are used in many formulations. World Health Organisation (WHO) have recommended formulations using either alcohol.
IPA is approved as an active ingredient in Europe via the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) [no. 528/2012]. There are also authorised products based on the IPA available in the marketplace, including the Evans Vanodine product Handsan [UK-2019-1195-0001].
Ethanol is not yet approved as an active under this system so existing local regulations apply. e.g. in the UK, as most disinfectant use is unregulated, products can be on the market without authorisation.
At present some Ethanol formulations are on the market based on these WHO guidelines and do not require testing or need to meet any regulations apart from HMRC. The derogation is only temporary and will end in September 2020.
There needs to be an awareness that some of the new products on the market are making unsubstantiated claims and they are not presently regulated.
When the Coronavirus pandemic is at an end we would expect the new Ethanol formulations, manufactured to help with the spread of the virus, to either be removed from the market or the manufacturers will have to ensure their products are tested against the relevant test methods to meet all applicable regulations to be continued to be sold.
Our microbiology technical specialist, Miriam Finlay, has put together a more detailed article on the differences between IPA and Ethanol, including what to be aware of when choosing a product. You can view and download a copy HERE.