Sanitisers have become a must-have hygiene essential these days. With the constant increase in the number of coronavirus patients, companies have started manufacturing sanitisers on a large scale. But skin experts are worried about the formulation of the cheap sanitisers.
Sanitisers that contain isopropyl alcohol are effective in fighting the germs and viruses including the coronavirus, and are available at a higher price than some others in the category.
On the other hand, the more inexpensive sanitisers are prepared using methanol and also do not contain any moisturising components, leading to problems such as skin rashes, infections and even allergies.
The US Food and Drug Administration has also issued an advisory against using methanol-based hand sanitisers, and has said that the presence of methanol (wood alcohol), can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.
Dermatologists are suggesting that washing hands with a moisturising soap/handwash is still better than using cheap and synthetically coloured sanitisers.
Dr Rommel Tickoo who is the associate director of the internal medicine department at Max Healthcare Hospital said, "Methanol is toxic both if ingested or absorbed through the skin, and can adversely affect the central nervous system, causing headache, giddiness, vomiting, abdominal pain, and drowsiness." He further added that methanol gets converted into formaldehyde in the body, causing ill-effects on the kidneys and in some cases also causing blindness.
Dr Harish Gupta, who is also a member of National Medical Commission and Delhi Medical Council, said research reports show the proven ability of 70% isopropyl alcohol to kill COVID-19 virus. He further added, "We do not have any research on methanol products and their efficacy."
Dr Kabir Sardana, professor of dermatology at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, has seen the increase in skin allergies related problems lately. He said-, "Healthcare workers, patients and non-patients who use these products, especially those that are coloured, are reporting skin irritation." He added, "The combination of excessive skin-drying soaps, alcohol sanitisers and hard water is also causing hand eczema."
Indeed, the market is flooded with two kinds of spurious sanitisers. One with little ethanol mixed with water, colour and essence, and the other with methanol.
In local markets such as Tilak Bazar and Sadar Bazar in New Delhi, people are openly making methanol and ethanol concentrates and selling them as hand sanitisers.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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