Australians Overconfident About Effectiveness of Certain Sanitisers

November 5, 2020 Updated: November 11, 2020

Nearly 70 percent of Australians either don’t know or are incorrect about which hand sanitisers are effective against COVID-19, a survey has revealed.

The ongoing CCP virus pandemic has prompted many people to increase their regular hygiene practices and stock up on products like hand sanitiser at home in a bid to protect their families. The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus is commonly known as novel coronavirus.

But Choice Health Campaigner Dean Price has said in a media release that “hand sanitiser standards and labelling in Australia is a confusing mess.”

Australian consumer advocacy group, Choice, conducted a survey that found that Australian labelling lacks key information, such as the percentage of alcohol, which makes it difficult for families to buy products that effectively kill the virus.

Right now, sanitisers that are classified as “cosmetics,” or claim to follow a specific WHO formulation, are exempt from stringent regulation by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) or the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“Unfortunately there’s nothing at the moment that requires companies to put their alcohol content on their labels,” Price told Seven News.

“That’s one of the things that we’re asking for: making sure that all bottles are labelled the same so that people can easily make that decision.”

Epoch Times Photo
A hand sanitizer is seen as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media during a daily briefing in Melbourne, Australia on July 25, 2020. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Companies can call non-alcoholic gel products “hand sanitiser” even when there’s no good evidence these products prevent the spread of viruses.

“Having something like tea tree oil doesn’t necessarily make it any better, though it might make it smell better,” Price said.

“These dud ‘sanitisers’ can sit on the same supermarket shelves as genuinely effective options.”

Choice has launched a petition calling on Australia’s leaders to fix hand sanitiser labelling and ensure that companies can’t get away with selling products that won’t protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Before that happens, Choice Reviews and Testing Director Matthew Steen recommended a simple test to see whether there’s a decent amount of alcohol inside a hand sanitiser.

“Does it smell of alcohol and feel cool on the skin? While imprecise, be wary of hand sanitisers that don’t pass this test,” Steen said.

“If a hand sanitiser is sticky and doesn’t evaporate off your hands quickly, that’s a clue that it might not have the appropriate amount of alcohol needed to kill the virus.”

The survey of 1,013 Australians which was conducted between Oct. 13-20, found that 59 percent of respondents believed that hand sanitisers sold in Australia are legally required to state the percentage of alcohol they contain on the label, when in fact they don’t.

Evidently, Australians are overly confident in the effectiveness of sanitisers sold in supermarkets and chemists. This matched with poor information and labelling means that people often purchased dodgy products.