6 Dangers of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer and How to Avoid Them

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on a number of industries. While many have been drastically negatively impacted, others have flourished – with the hand sanitizer industry near the head of the pack.

In fact, due to the pandemic, it’s predicted the global hand sanitizer market will witness a 244% YoY growth in 2020 over 2019. Other estimates even predict the hand sanitizer market will be worth $15.3 billion by 2026.

But as the market grows, a number of issues have arisen with the storage, shipping, and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers – and some of them are downright scary.

Here’s a look at these issues as well as what you can do to avoid them.

6 Dangers of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

While hand sanitizer is intended to keep us safer, it also presents some troubling challenges.

1. Its Flash Point is Scarily Low 

The first thing you need to know is that alcohol-based hand sanitizer has an incredibly low flash point – some as low as 13 degrees Celsius.

What does this mean, exactly?

It means that if, for instance, a delivery driver is on the road in the summer months, the back of their truck could very easily become hot enough to spark the hand sanitizer they’re transporting.

So, if there happens to be a spark anywhere near that sanitizer, it could all go up in flames.

2. Sparks Can Come from Unexpected Places

The previous point is made even more troubling when you consider how easily a spark can be produced.

It doesn’t take the flint of a lighter to create one. Sparks can come from things like tools or even static discharge.

This presents risks not just to delivery drivers or warehouse staff but even to people who may use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and then use tools, be around electricity, or even just be in a high-static environment.

3. Storage Can Be Dangerous – But is Rarely Enforced Properly 

Because of these risks, storing high volumes of alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be extremely hazardous as well.

And on top of that, fire codes, depending on how they’re interpreted, can be questionable in terms of best practices for storing and shipping alcohol.

But one thing is for sure: the restrictions that are in place often aren’t enforced as strictly as they should be. So, there are many cases where alcohol-based hand sanitizer is being stored improperly but nobody is being caught for it.

4. Labels Often Fail to Present Health Hazards

Another troubling problem with alcohol-based hand sanitizers is that the labels often don’t highlight health hazards – such as that ethanol-based products shouldn’t be used, for example, by women who are pregnant or by people under the age of 18.

The reality is that alcohol is bad for your skin and can be harmful when used incorrectly.

Before using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, make sure you’re reading the labels.

5. Necessity Has Made Quality Control a Challenge

When the pandemic hit, the need for hand sanitizer skyrocketed. The existing supply simply couldn’t meet the demand.

The result?

A lot of products got to market extremely quickly due to necessity – for instance, the ones that smell like tequila or gin – but were never put through proper testing. In fact, some of these products even have incomplete labels.

Believe it or not, some are even considered temporary products.

6. Alcohol-Based Sanitizer Can Damage Property

Hand sanitizer stands have been popping up all over the place – at restaurants, in retail environments, offices, and beyond.

And this is for good reason. Hand sanitizer has been proven to be an extremely impactful way of minimizing the spread of the virus.

The challenge is that people aren’t ultra-conscious about where hand sanitizer might be dripping. So, if your hand sanitizer stand isn’t equipped with a proper drip tray, it can literally take the finish off of hardwood, melt carpet, and damage tile.

It will damage just about anything.

What You Can Do to Avoid the Risks of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have long been toted as the only option, but it’s becoming clear that this isn’t the case. There are a ton of foaming liquid non-alcohol products that are registered to kill the COVID-19 virus as effectively as their alcohol-based counterparts.

And since these products don’t contain alcohol, they eliminate the startling risks associated with it.

At Northern Specialty Supplies, we’ve recently stocked up on non-alcohol based hand sanitizer options to ensure your staff, customers, and property stay safe.

If you’ve got questions about the best hand sanitizers and equipment for your needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our experts are here to help.