Quality of Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers Marketed in the Nairobi Metropolitan Area

  • Kennedy Abuga
  • Nasser Nyamwey
  • Obed King’ondu
Keywords: Hand sanitizer, COVID-19, alcohol, methanol substitution, gas chromatography, substandard products, falsified products, post-market surveillance.

Abstract

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers to the fore as a SARS-CoV-2 control measure. To be effective these products must comply with relevant quality parameters such as alcohol concentration, methanol limits and purity. The current study was designed to determine the quality of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products in the Nairobi metropolitan area. For this purpose, 74 commercially marketed samples were collected and subjected to analysis by gas chromatography. Only three samples (4.1%) complied with the regulatory specifications for alcohol content, methanol limits and pH. Five samples (6.8%) complied with the specification for alcohol content but did not meet methanol or pH limits. A total of 44 (59.5%) samples had methanol levels that exceeded threshold limits. Eleven samples (14.9%) were found with methanol substitution (i.e., methanol, instead of ethanol or isopropanol, was the main alcohol component). The results show that users of alcohol-based hand sanitizers are being exposed to substandard and falsified products which in addition to being non-efficacious pose harm due to unacceptable levels of toxic impurities. Regular, routine post-market surveillance is needed to prevent such products from reaching the market.

Published
2021-11-24
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1026-552X