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RAPEX, the EU’s rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products has issued reports that hand disinfectants have been found with a number of risks, which has lead to the products’ withdrawal from EU markets.

SAFEGUARDS | Cosmetics, Personal Care & HouseholdNO. 119/20

Hand Sanitizer Gel

Hand sanitizers, which have become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, help people to ensure good personal hygiene. However, recent market surveillance data from RAPEX, the EU’s rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products has issued reports that hand disinfectants have been found with a number of risks, which has lead to the products’ withdrawal from EU markets.

Based on the recent RAPEX reports, hand disinfectants are mostly found with three main non-conformities:

Chemical Risk

  • Products contain methanol an acute toxic substance harmful to the nervous system and eyes. Ingestion or skin contact with methanol could lead to blindness and death

Health Risk

  • Products contain an insufficient amount of active substances (e.g. ethanol, propan-2-ol). This will increase the risk of infection, since active substances are not sufficient to kill bacteria or viruses

Fire Risk and Others

  • Products lack appropriate hazard pictograms and warnings. In the presence of an ignition source products containing alcohol pose a risk of fire. Appropriate hazard pictograms and warning text should be used, as per the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulations and the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR)

The following measures are applied to non-conformant hand disinfectants:

  • Recall from end users
  • Making the marketing of the product subject to prior conditions
  • Removal of product listing by online marketplace
  • Withdrawal from the market
  1. SGS Product Recalls Alert
  2. EU Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food prducts (RAPEX)

With the development of new products, regulations for cosmetics, personal care and household are fast changing and increasingly complex. To stay up-to-date with the latest legislation, check out our powerful regulatory compliance platform, SGS Digicomply.

For enquiries, please contact:

Queenie Ho-yan TSE
Assistant Technical Service Manager
T: +852 2765 3672

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