Sanitiser Story And Why 70% Alcohol Is Not Sufficient

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There are radical steps taken in the marketplace to provide solutions that are leaving entrepreneurs having to pivot from their existing failing businesses into the world of PPE.

The government is largely silent on the processes underway whilst we all fixate on our civil liberties and speculation about whether or not ND Zuma has another agenda by banning cigarettes for the foreseeable future.

Here are some facts.

The government, through Fikile Mbalula I believe, has stipulated that any sanitizing product must contain 70% alcohol in order to be effective as a virucide that is effective against COVID 19. In doing so, they have taken a professional industry that has been in operation and conducting R&D for decades and marginalized it.

Experts have been investing in non-toxic, natural alternatives, as well as food and medical safe chemical alternatives for many years. In one slip of the tongue by what appears to be an ill-informed minister, we have all been exposed to a significant level of danger.

Firstly, all alcohol that is non potable undergoes denaturing, a process to render it undrinkable. This is effectively spoiling it with an additive that could be anything from acetone to Methanol, which is toxic to humans. There is isopropyl alcohol which is safe and should be used but has been unavailable.

Owing to the artificial shortage, the price of alcohol jumped from around R17 per litre to over R35. Overnight, hundreds if not thousands of companies started offering the covid killing formula. The problem is that there has been no testing done to substantiate those claims or proving the content of the alcohol purchased, or even the provenance of the alcohol.

Legal Requirement

There is a legal requirement to have testing done yet nobody is enforcing it. It is worth noting that even Adcock Ingram created a Waterless Hand gel in the run-up to COVID, where they added a hand softener whilst including 40% alcohol and claimed a 99.9% efficacy against bacteria and fungi. Dischem sold hundreds of thousands of this product yet it was effectively declared unacceptable by the minister’s declaration.

The fact remains that alcohol is supposedly 99.9% effective in the fight against the virus, it is in fact a low-level disinfectant with what is known as a 3 log reduction ie 99.9 being 3 digits. Alcohol is usually used as a carrier for the active ingredients, not as the active ingredient. Alcohol instantly flashes off when in contact with air leaving no residual protection hence the smell.

There are products that are on the market with full testing and certification and achieving a 5 log reduction ie 99.999%. Nobody is talking about the fact that we have legislation in place for high level disinfecting that aligns with European standards. 5 log reduction is the standard.

The difference between 3 log and 5 log is quite significant. What makes matters worse, is that the SABS can only test to a 3 log level. Therefore private labs need to be engaged with to test to the correct levels but Testing for COVID 19 has not been done.

Risk Factors

The risk factors with alcohol previously alluded to are creations like alcohol in a can for spray disinfecting and sanitization tunnels where 70% alcohol is being sprayed on people. Considering that canning factories who make the sprays do not allow cellphones in their operational areas as a matter of safety, similar to filling stations follow the same precautions, we are now exposing everyone to these dangers unchecked.

There are sanitation tunnels emerging like weeds at the moment where almost all of them are using low-level water pumps and misting atomizers whilst claiming to be dry fog tunnels. Most people producing these tunnels have the good sense to use the correct liquids, but the idea that a mist droplet is a dry fog is simply ridiculous.

A fogging droplet will yield varying drop sizes between 5 and 20 microns whilst misting droplets range between 30 and 100 microns with most over 50 microns which is the point that it will wet the user and most importantly only cover around 60% of the target with a directed nozzle. Fogging achieves 90%.

Simply put, anyone using a water pump is wetting the user and wasting many litres of water per nozzle per hour. A misting tunnel will achieve 30-40 litres per hour, whilst fogging will use less than 3. It is possible to fog with a water pump, but the nozzles are specialized and the pressure must be over 50 bar to work.

There are pumps to do this, but if the piping work is not perfect, the nozzles could fire water a strength that could cut through flesh or the nozzles could become projectiles firing at the strength of a bullet if blocked. There are also natural solutions such as Ozone gas and Electo Chemically activated waters that are environmentally sound to use and human safe, yet we have this predilection for chemicals.

Now the likelihood is that there is going to be legislation to ensure that sanitizer is available in all publicly accessible spaces such as Retail and commercial centres as well as hospitals, schools, and offices. Surely it is time for the government to allow the professionals who have spent 20 years running their regulated businesses to become an ‘overnight’ success, lead the way in a safe and sustainable manner.

There are really good solutions out there, but they are being lost in the crush. If you are interested in picking this up, I am happy to provide research and substantiation of the claims of fact contained above.

You can email me on or call 083 227 9757