Our familiar hand sanitisers and surface disinfectants – with active ingredients ethyl alcohol (ethanol), isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) or quats (quaternary ammonium compounds) – each showcase their own range of pros and cons.
While alcohol is known to destroy pathogens such as bacteria and viruses in a process called denaturation, it can also dry out and crack the skin of the hands; is highly flammable; and can result in acute alcohol poisoning if accidently ingested. Disinfectant sanitising products containing alcohol are also damaging to floors, walls, railings and other surfaces, which has become evident since most workplaces, shops and schools have reopened.
In the absence of approved commercially available alternatives, such as PHMB by Sani-Med for disinfectant purposes, agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have only been permitted to endorse 70 percent alcohol-based products for disinfectant purposes. Fortunately, a wealth of other reputable organisations – from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to the European Union (EU) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) – have approved and are endorsing a much broader list of chemicals that are highly protective against COVID-19.
These chemicals have active ingredients that include 5-chloro-2-(4-chloropheny)phenol, active chlorine released from calcium, hydrogen peroxide and polyhexamethylene biguanide, among others. The full list can be viewed on echa.europa.eu
. The pros of the latter type of product are that they can more easily be enhanced with skin conditioners, are non-flammable, prove significantly less damaging to the surfaces on which they need to be applied, and even continue to offer protection after a surface has dried.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities that need to be seen to follow strict health protocols may be forced unnecessarily to go the alcohol-based route, but those making the decisions in schools, the manufacturing niche, retail and so on would do well to go the alcohol-free route for peace of mind and protection from ingestion, fire, corrosion and a range of other health benefits.
Antiseptics with chlorinated aromatic structures also have their limitations. They can exacerbate asthma, discolour the skin and barely degrade – meaning they can persist in the environment for years, even decades, and their genotoxic element can continue to affect microbiota, fish, algae and plants over a long period.Enter Sani-Med
, a medical-grade and alcohol-free hand sanitiser and surface disinfectant, which is both SABS approved as a general anti-viral and EU-certified against COVID-19. With a growing popularity among prominent South African companies – from the Western Cape Blood Service, to Sea Rescue SA, WP Rugby, Newmark Hotels, Sasol and Dawn Wing – it offers many of the preferential qualities of alcohol-free sanitisers and has been trusted worldwide, for over 15 years, in the food, medical, automotive and aviation industries.
Made in the United Kingdom and bottled in Cape Town under license, its active ingredient is polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) which, at a 0.2 to 1.0 percent concentration, has been found to be non-toxic, gentle on hands – even after frequent use – and is popular for use as a laundry additive to sterilise face masks, clothing and bedding, without staining or tarnishing materials that include vinyl, plastic and cotton.
Manufactured as a broad-spectrum antiviral that kills all known viruses, bacteria, moulds and spores, it offers a high degree of protection (with a 20 times faster kill rate than other sanitisers) and a long-lasting residual effect without any tacky residue. A huge benefit for companies purchasing it for use as a general wipedown, is that it does not corrode metals; neither does it damage or fade leather and other furnishings. It is ideal for aerial disinfection (fogging), is virtually odourless and its environmentally-friendly status has been recognised by the USEPA, as mentioned above.
See below a table showing the beneficial properties of Sani-Med, in comparison to four other common sanitisers. For more info, go to www.sani-med.co.za