Kepong MP warns against unregulated, ineffective hand sanitisers in fight against Covid-19

Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Petaling Jaya November 27, 2020. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Petaling Jaya November 27, 2020. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

PETALING JAYA, Nov 28 — As Malaysians continue to cope with Covid-19, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng has warned that not all alcohol-based hand sanitisers work to curb infections despite their widespread use and promotion.

Lim said although many brands are manufactured properly with the right ratio of alcohol content, others may not use the right amount of ingredients that in turn could mislead the public.

“This is a danger to the public as many buy such sanitisers thinking it can work, whereas it actually does not,” he told Malay Mail in a recent interview.

As the country’s new Covid-19 cases continue to soar in recent weeks, Lim said this thin line effectively may be a matter of life and death.

The World Health Organisation states that hand sanitisers’ formula must follow two guidelines.

The first is a content of 80 per cent ethanol, 1.45 per cent glycerol, and 0.125 per cent hydrogen peroxide.

The second outline is a content of 75 per cent isopropyl alcohol, 1.45 per cent glycerol, and 0.125 per cent hydrogen peroxide.

“I understand that in some hand sanitisers, the alcohol content is as low as 40 per cent or less. This is clearly not enough to kill the Covid-19 virus when applied.

“It is not just a domestic issue, as some sanitiser brands are imported from abroad but there is no guarantee the ingredients are suitable and effective for use,” he said.

Subsequently, Lim said it has now become “super urgent” matter to raise this awareness among the public.

“There is not concrete data on how many sanitiser brands out there have sufficient alcohol content. Not to mention that some of these brands may not even have approval from the Health Ministry.

“I suggest the authorities first conduct an educational roadshow or campaign for the public, teaching then how to properly read the labelling on sanitiser bottles, how to determine if the contents are suitable, among others,” he said.

Once the roadshow or campaign has concluded, Lim said the authorities could then implement civil enforcement to curb the sale of unapproved hand sanitisers.

“I believe this should be a joint effort between the Health Ministry, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, and the International Trade and Industry Ministry for the imported sanitisers,” he said.

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