Inactive Ingredients used in Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers marketed in the Nairobi Metropolitan Area

Nyamweya NN, Lumb PN, Mujyarugamba JC, Abuga KO. "Inactive Ingredients used in Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers marketed in the Nairobi Metropolitan Area." PJK. 2021;25(1):17-20.


Background: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers (ABHS) have become widely used products since the advent of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus based COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to ethanol or isopropanol (the active ingredients of ABHS) and water, these products are formulated with a number of ingredients to optimize delivery, efficacy and safety as well as to provide consumer appeal. Despite the widespread use of ABHS, there is very limited information in the literature on the non-alcohol ingredients used in these products.
Objectives: The aim of this work was to determine the inactive ingredients used in ABHS marketed in metropolitan Nairobi.
Methodology: ABHS products were randomly obtained from several locations at retail outlets within the Nairobi metropolitan region. The ingredients used in each ABHS were obtained from the product labels.
Results: The most common inactive ingredients based on percentage frequency of listing on product labels were glycerin (50%), fragrances (36%), carbomer (26%), triethanolamine (18%) and propylene glycol (17%). It was observed that some products incorporated additional antimicrobial agents and preservatives in the formulation. The fragrances and some of the preservatives used in the ABHS products are potential allergens. Incomplete or inadequate ingredient naming was noted for several products.
Conclusions: There is a need for ABHS manufacturers to fully disclose all raw materials used in ABHS products using standardized ingredient nomenclature. ABHS users need to be aware of potential allergens present in respective marketed products.

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