hand sanitisers

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has banned hand sanitisers containing acetone, methanol and methylated spirits.

“Hand sanitisers with no ‘active’ ingredients must have a minimum 70%​ alcohol content. Hand sanitisers with ‘active’ ingredients must have a minimum of 60% alcohol content. ‘Active’ ingredients are biologically active ingredients such as benzalkonium chloride,” the Bureau said.

It added that acetone, methanol and Methylated spirits are now prohibited as they have been cited to contain extraneous toxicity levels, posing a danger to users when absorbed through the skin.

According to the SABS, SANS 490 requires hand sanitisers to be packaged and labelled according to set standards.
“The amended SANS 490 adds further requirements for packaging and labelling. Hand sanitiser packaging may not contain cork closure lids and the labelling of hand sanitiser products must contain the following information about the registration number and full address of the manufacturer, alcohol percentage, a ‘flammable’ warning as well as a do not ingest warning,” the SABS said.

The label must also include storage temperature warnings, whether the sanitiser is a gel or liquid, the volume of mass of the gel or liquid and the ingredients to specify the type of alcohol.

Furthermore, the labels must include an expiry date and batch number, instructions for use and a SABS-approved mark, if the manufacturer or brand is approved by the SABS.

The Bureau said the amended SANS 490 must be followed not only by hand sanitiser manufacturers but also employers who distribute hand sanitisers in the workplace. If hand sanitisers do not comply with the amended SANS 490, employers should not distribute them in the workplace.

“By distributing hand sanitisers that comply with the amended SANS 490, employers will ensure that the health and safety of their employees and anyone else who may enter the workplace is sufficiently safeguarded,” the SABS said.

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