National center for infection control professionals, healthcare experts, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and consumers focused on best practices in hand hygiene and hand sanitizer products

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Winnipeg (Canada) largest school system bans alcohol-based hand sanitizers; as do Edmonton and Vancouver School Boards

Winnipeg's largest school division has banned alcohol-based antiseptic hand-washing stations from its schools over fears that they are flammable and toxic. The policy, reported this week, means the division's 77 schools will not be provided with, and cannot order, alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

"Alcohol-based hand cleaners are not to be used with students within our division, because they are highly flammable and potentially fatal if ingested," nurse educator Kerry Heather has told the Winnipeg School Division's 77 schools. The cleansers are typically about 60-per-cent alcohol. "You don't see that even in a liquor mart," Ms. Heather said.

Edmonton Public Schools is making a similar move in its schools, said spokeswoman Jane Farrell. "We are moving to the non-alcohol-based sanitizers." The Vancouver School Board does not allow alcohol-based cleansers, either.

Students who insert an electrical plug could set off a spark and cause a fire on their hands, she said. They could hurt themselves in a science lab or if they go outside for a cigarette, if they still had the alcohol-based material on their hands.

"Absolutely, any time you're going to add fuel, if it isn't used properly," she said, noting that burns have been suffered in health-care facilities.

No comments: