By OUR STAFF REPORTER
Dehradun, 4 Aug: In the challenging times of Covid, sanitisers are being used extensively to ward off the dreaded virus. However, many fake sanitisers have also flooded the market, which is a matter of concern.
Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation Scientists (SPECS), which has a long history of working against food adulteration and pollution in water, organised a Sanitiser Testing Campaign 2021 during the months of May-June this year. A total of 1050 samples were collected, out of which 578 samples had alcohol content that was far below the norms and thus failed to serve the very purpose of sanitisation.
Since the start of the pandemic, people are being told to apply sanitisers to make their hands virus free and thus stop the spread of the pandemic. This suggestion led to a spurt in the demand for sanitisers. This also led to its scarcity and many coming up with spurious sanitisers.
SPECS collected samples from 3 May till 5 July. The tests were done on these samples for percentage of alcohol and quality and quantity of hydrogen peroxide, methanol and colours. These tests were done at SPECS laboratory.
The study revealed the following facts:
Around 56 percent samples of sanitisers had alcohol far below the norms. In other words, 578 samples out of 1050 total samples failed on this count. Eight samples had the presence of methanol. Around 112 samples had hydrogen peroxide far exceeding the norms. Toxic colours were found in 278 samples.
SPECS Secretary Dr Brij Mohan Sharma, at a press conference, today, said that lack of adequate alcohol in sanitisers affected their effectiveness to ward off the virus and thus could be a possible reason behind spread of the pandemic in the region.
Referring to the presence of toxins, hydrogen peroxide and methanol, Dr Sharma said the toxins that artificial colours leave on the skin greatly increase the risk of sensitivity and irritation and allow these chemicals to be absorbed into the body where they can cause even greater damage. They can also block the pores, which could lead to a greater risk of acne. Similarly, hydrogen peroxide can also exert a direct cytotoxic effect via lipid per oxidation. Ingestion of hydrogen peroxide may cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract with nausea, vomiting, haematemesis and foaming at the mouth.
The foam may obstruct the respiratory tract or result in pulmonary aspiration. Methanol can degrease the skin, which may cause dermatitis. Symptoms of acute methanol exposure may include headache, weakness, drowsiness, nausea, difficult breathing, drunkenness, eye irritation, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, and possibly death.
Sanitisers fall short of specifications, finds SPECS testing campaign
By OUR STAFF REPORTER