Alcohol Content of Hand Sanitizers Marketed in Selected Towns in Eastern Ethiopia
Background: Many generic brand hand sanitizers have been flooding the market because of the high surge in the demand for hand sanitizers around the globe due to rising prevalence of the COVID-19 and increase in consumer awareness pertaining to personal hygiene worldwide. However, the quality of most sanitizers available on the market is questionable.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine ethanol concentration of commercially available ethanol-based hand sanitizers that are marketed in selected cities in eastern Ethiopia (Haramaya, Dire Dawa, and Harar) and validate whether they meet the standard concentration recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) and recommend Food and Drug Authority of Ethiopia to check the quality of hand sanitizers marketed in all corners of the country very seriously and take necessary measures for the poor quality of marketed hand sanitizers.
Materials and Methods: Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) was used to determine the concentration of ethanol in five brand hand sanitizers purchased from Haramaya, Dire Dawa, and Harar.
Results: The results of the study showed that the concentration of ethanol in Brand 1, Brand 2, Brand 3, Brand 4 and Brand 5 was 58.20, 56.51, 55.02, 51.33 and 93.03%, respectively, and was not in good agreement with the label claim marked as ethanol concentration. The hand sanitizer formulated by the Department of Chemistry, Haramaya University was found to contain 77.2% ethanol, which was in acceptable concentration range recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Conclusion: Of the six samples of hand sanitizer tested, four of them fail below the WHO recommended concentration (80%), while one brand had ethanol concentration exceeding the WHO standard. The determined ethanol concentration of the analyzed hand sanitizers showed a poor correlation with the claimed label except that of hand sanitizer formulated in the Haramaya Chemistry Department Laboratory with a significant deviation from the expected values ranging from 16.25% to 35.87%. The poor quality of these hand sanitizers can contribute to the spread of the virus rather than preventing it. Therefore, the continued vigilance is required from all stakeholders and authorities to ensure that the product is formulated in accordance with the guidelines recommended by WHO.