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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Canada School Board & Swine Flu: NO Alcohol Hand Sanitizers

Without intending to incite or enflame..this news story just released in Canada i.e. hand sanitizers/schools.

Aug 26, 2009 - 11:39 AM
DURHAM -- Pandemic plans are in place at Durham schools and post-secondary institutions in anticipation of a second wave of H1N1 this fall.

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Durham College and the Durham District School Board have all been in touch with the public health department in preparation for the fall return of students, when a H1N1 outbreak is expected to hit.

Earlier this month, the Ontario Health Ministry had reported almost 3,000 confirmed cases of H1N1 in Ontario since it showed up earlier this year, claiming the lives of more than 20 people in the province. In Durham Region, 117 cases were confirmed.

"You always plan for the worst and hope for the best," said Mark Joel, a Durham District School Board superintendent. Katherine Lazenby, director of counselling and medical service at Durham College and UOIT, said the same thing.

The public school board's main plan of attack is prevention. The board is continuing to educate people about mouth covering when coughing, proper hand washing and is installing hand sanitizers at various points in schools. The board is also encouraging people to stay home if they have flu-like symptoms and discouraging parents from sending alcohol-based hand sanitizer because it's flammable and could be dangerous, Mr. Joel said. Alcohol-free ones are available in stores, he added.

Options for alcohol-free hand sanitizers available in stores and/or online are easy to find. For example: Soapopular, Hy5, HandClenz, DEB, and others.

Monday, August 24, 2009

St. Louis Schools Opt For Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers

Source: South County Times

District Takes Steps To Ward Off Influenza

August 21, 2009

In an effort to better guard against influenza outbreaks, the Lindbergh School District has installed hand sanitizer dispensers in every district classroom.

In addition to classrooms, dispensers have been installed in nurse's offices, cafeteria areas and office areas. The sanitizer is a non-flammable, alcohol-free product that has a 99.99 percentage reduction of H1N1 and other virus germs when exposed to an area for 15 seconds.

While hand sanitizer is an effective tool in reducing the spread of germs, Lindbergh lead nurse Deborah Artman cautions that it should be used only as a supplement to good hand-washing.

"Hand-washing is the easiest and most effective way to keep germs from spreading," Artman said. "We are reminding students, teachers and staff to wash their hands often and cover their mouths and noses when sneezing and coughing."

Reminders about proper hand washing will be posted in restrooms and classrooms, and teachers will provide instruction to students with specific lessons about flu safety.

Friday, August 21, 2009

World Health Organization Sees "Explosion in Swine Flu Cases"

WHO predicts 'explosion' of swine flu cases
The Associated Press -August 21
BEIJING — The global spread of swine flu will endanger more lives as it speeds up in coming months and governments must boost preparations for a swift response, the World Health Organization said Friday. There will soon be a period of further global ...

Click on the link title for full story. If you're using someone else's keyboard, make sure that you either wash your hands, or use a good alcohol-free hand sanitizer product. Remember, the CDC does not recommend products, they just like alcohol.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

AP News: Puerto Rico Health Care Experts Warn of alleged ineffectiveness of Alcohol Hand Sanitizers

Below is a loose translation (thanks to Google word monkey) of an excerpt from a news story distributed yesterday by AP news and published by El Nuevo Dia, a leading Puerto Rico-based media outlet. Please click on the title link to the actual news report.

"Doctors Warn of risks of hand sanitizer; Urges the authorities to guide alleged ineffectiveness of the products based on alcohol

"...The hand sanitizer that has been recommended by the authorities as part of preventive measures against influenza AH1N1 is not as effective as cree said today Dr. Silvia Collazo, a specialist in Family Medicine.

Collazo said at a press conference that based hand sanitizer alcohol, known as "hand sanitizers", lose their effectiveness to three minutes of applied dry skin and exposing the pores to more contamination of bacteria, viruses and germs..."

"The disinfectant with the active ingredient in alcohol is also an unsafe in the hands of children because it is a flammable product. The label of the majority has no instructions on what minimum amount should be applied and has not been created for parents aware of the dangers their children may have, "he said at a press conference.."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hand Sanitizer War Ignites: Purell Fires Missives and Missles at Alcohol-Free Competitor

Well, it was merely a matter of time before the big gorilla within the hand sanitizer industry decided to employ unseemly (and potentially libelous) tactics in an effort to undermine a manufacturer of alcohol-free hand sanitizer products because they're becoming so popular with customers.

A little birdy raised her hand to share with us an email sent by GOJO Industries to its third-party distributors.

To provide background, both the company in question and a distributor of its products were recently informed by the FDA that the distributors website, as well as the company's website was in violation of FDA 'guidelines' because the site(s) were displaying the names of specific pathogens that the product has proven to be effective against in independent lab tests.

The distributor, as well as the manufacturer were apparently quite surprised by the FDA warning (and the fact the FDA posted the distributor company's name on a website as being 'in violation'), if only because virtually all other hand sanitizer marketers/distributors and manufacturers make reference to specific pathogens on their respective websites.

The fact that GOJO had visited the company's website on no less than three dozen occasions within the two weeks immediately preceding the FDA warning letter is perhaps coincidental. Or not.

We do know that GOJO visits this blog on a frequent basis, but we don't market products, and hopefully the FDA has a copy of the First Amendment (we know they've interrogated this blog too, along with people from the CDC).

Like Bill O'Reilly, or any other talking head, we're just an (opinionated) observer that happens to believe that by applying alcohol to the hands is perhaps the best way to destroy protective skin cells and otherwise increase the risk of being infected by any number of germs or viruses.

Alcohol hand sanitizers are also a great product that teens can use to spice up their morning or afternoon beverages. And if all else fails, those products are a great way to start a camp fire. Or any other type of fire.

Below is the email sent by one Klara Kozak, a "Commercial Sales Director" for GOJO Industries.

From: Kozak, Klara [mailto:KozakK@GOJO.COM]

Sent: Tuesday, August 04, 2009 10:20 AM



Subject: Fraudulent Claims - liability concerns

Good Morning Gentlemen;

I have attached some files that should prove helpful in answering your customers questions regarding approved products that can be used against H1N1. This of course applies to ALL markets. I understand that you have a few schools in your region that are currently using [non-alcohol hand sanitizer], they will likely be looking for products that are both recommended and not deemed harmful.

Given the recent warnings that have been issued to the manufacturer, your customers may be concerned with the products they may have purchased and are providing to their students, staff, residents, patrons etc.

The first 2 links here identify the manufacturer and their various claims as fraudulent.

[the blog author has determined to leave out the specific links in deference to the fact Ms. Kozak, with or without the authorization of her employer, has otherwise made statements which are out of context with the actual FDA letter, and perhaps completely false, intentionally or not.]

The files attached are from Health Canada which identify the active ingredient on the chemical hot-list of products to be concerned with and the updated guidelines issued by Health Canada that identify alcohol based hand sanitizer as part of their hand washing guidelines. ( I believe that I have sent these to you in the past)

As always, feel free to contact me or our GOJO customer service line for technical information on the efficacy of Purell and other GOJO products.

Stay Well, Be Happy!
Klara Kozak
Commercial Sales Director
416-418-3616 OFFICE
Fax 330-255-6070 GOJO Industries

The above letter apparently sparked at least one recipient, a distributor of Purell products, to reply with the following:

Dear Klara-

After being on holiday last week, I returned to my office to find the e-letter from you. Contrary to what you suggested, we have had no inquiries or expressions of concern from any customers, including schools, with regard to the manufacturer you referenced.

Given that we sell a variety of products, and that we have received considerable [unsolicited] demand for non-alcohol hand sanitizer products, including that manufactured by the company you reference in your email with subject "fraudulent claims/liability concerns", I can only say that our entire division is appalled that GOJO would allow you to distribute a message that smears, if not libels a competing manufacturer.

1. Yes, we have many schools in our particular region that currently procures products from the manufacturer that you reference in your letter. As you may be aware, three different parts of the country have school systems (encompassing more than 700 facilities) that have banned alcohol hand sanitizers. Based on what our own customers have told us, the reasoning behind banning alcohol based products is 3-fold

i. Flammable.

ii. Toxic

iii. Alcohol destroys protective skin cells, which necessarily leaves the body that much more prone to exposure to a transmittable virus.

Schools are particularly sensitive to the fact that their students are found to be abusing alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and using it for unintended purposes, such as mixing it with soda pop and other beverages. Regardless of their reasoning, the fact is what it is. They will not purchase alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

That said, your email message indicated that your products are "recommended" for students and "not deemed harmful", and that the competing, alcohol-free product has been deemed harmful and has not been recommended.

We consulted local counsel, who actually communicated with the US FDA to determine exactly why that competing manufacturer's name appears on the FDA site, and in what context.

Based on an email correspondence from a member of the FDA staff, it was made clear that no hand sanitizer manufacturer is permitted to reference any pathogen on their website, or to include any mention of any type of pathogen within the meta tags of their website.

Apparently, the website that the FDA referenced in your link had, like virtually all other hand sanitizer marketers, incorporated terms/phrases that the FDA has determined as of June of this year, to be not permissable.

According to our own sources at FDA, the website in question has since removed all references to specific pathogens, and according to what we've been told, the FDA is in the process of making an update to their website to reflect the fact the site in question is now in full compliance. There was never any indication the product itself or even that the advertising was "fraudulent", it was merely in violation of an advertising rule that few had ever been aware of or abided by, but that the FDA has, since June of this year, decided to enforce. Much in part to prevent irresponsible people from exploiting the demand for hand hygiene products in the midst of a global health crisis.

No doubt that your sending a message suggesting that the company has made fraudulent claims has offended the manufacturer, but I'm writing to tell you this letter insults the intelligence of those that distribute your product.

Contrary to your letter to myself and co-workers, we have determined that the FDA makes absolutely no suggestion that the product is harmful, or that the company has made any type of fraudulent claim. Further, we were told that the "harmful product list" does not suggest the product is "harmful"; the title of the list you reference is, according to sources at FDA, a misnomer. Your corporate attorney is no doubt aware of this, and if not, we would like to think that you and he will be getting quite an education in the weeks ahead.

Because your sales team has instructed third party sales companies such as ours that hands should be rinsed clean of dirt (using soap and water) prior to applying Purell-- it causes many customers to ask why they would then apply a formula that destroys the skin cells and increases risk of exposure to germs and bacteria.

We can only surmise that you found it necessary to resort to unseemly tactics as a means to undermine a competitor. This is inexcusable and has necessarily caused us to completely re-evaluate our interest in promoting your company's products.

If the FDA purportedly states that no maker of hand sanitizer is allowed to incorporate the names of any specific pathogens within the content of its website, or within the meta tag fields, your company would therefore be in similar violation to the manufacturer that you referenced. However impressed we might be with the power of your lobbyists in Canada or in the US, we're unimpressed with your business conduct.

I've refrained from including my personal signature on this note, as it appears that you and your company know of no boundaries with respect to unprofessional behavior, and I'd hasten to wonder what lengths you would go to with regard to smearing other people's good and hard-earned reputations.

But be assured, your tactics will not go unnoticed within the industry.