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Illegal and Ineffective Disinfectants

Illegal and Ineffective Disinfectants

15 June 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has seen a big increase in the demand for disinfectants and, in particular, hand disinfectants, to help fight the virus.

This demand has seen an increased number of non-compliant disinfectants on the market, which can pose a health risk. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) are coordinating enforcement throughout Europe, to protect citizens from the risks of illicit and ineffective products. In the UK this would be via Health and Safety Executive (HSE) biocides and trading standards.

Products should either be tested to or conform to internationally acceptable formulations. According to Public Health England (PHE) and World Health Organisation (WHO) advice, hand sanitisers which contain more than 60% alcohol and use the WHO recommended formulas require no additional testing. Also, products capable of producing 1,000ppm chlorine are acceptable. 

For a product to be effective against Coronavirus, it should have a test report confirming it has been tested to EN 14476 with vaccinia virus for enveloped viruses. If so then it is acceptable to claim effectiveness against Coronavirus. To claim a product is effective against Coronavirus without the correct supporting data is fraudulent and puts your employees and customers at risk of contracting COVID-19, as the product will not kill SARS-Cov-2 as claimed by the supplier. 

Other claims to look out for, which may not be supported, could be long-term residual activity and bactericidal efficacy, as well as incorrect packaging and hazard labelling. Users should request and view test data or microbiological profiles, specific for the efficacy claim being made, prior to use of a product.

If customers come across any products which they suspect of being non-compliant, they should report details to us, including photos where possible, so we can report it to HSE.

Please refer to the ECHA website for further details on illegal and ineffective disinfectants

Please also see our FAQ document for further details on other frequently asked questions regarding Coronavirus and product claims.
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