• Friday, Aug 07, 2020
  • Last Update : 09:19 pm

Adulterated hand sanitizer glut poses health risks in Chittagong

  • Published at 06:29 pm July 3rd, 2020
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Executive Magistrate Shirin Akter of Chittagong district administration seizes spurious hand sanitizers worth Tk2 lakh and fines the errant business with Tk2 lakh during a drive in Kazir Dewri in the city on June 11 Collected

Hand sanitizers should be 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% distilled water and glycerine but sanitizers sold on the street do not follow this; in most cases, these spurious hand sanitizers are just coloured water mixed with spirit

The demand for disinfectants has grown substantially in the country amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Cashing in on the surging demand, a section of unscrupulous traders are flooding the port city market with adulterated hand sanitizers, consequently posing a serious risk to public health.

Physicians warn that the use of adulterated hand sanitizers may cause various dermatological diseases and even cancer.

On July 1, a team of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) conducted a drive at a furniture shop at Pathantuli area under Double mooring police station in the city.

After searching the shop, the elite force members seized 492 litres of spurious hand rub and a huge quantity of substandard and unauthorized face masks. A person was arrested from the spot in this connection.

Similarly, on June 27, a team of RAB-7 conducted a drive at Barapool area under Halishahar police station in the city and seized 45 litres of adulterated hand sanitizer. Two persons were arrested from the spot.

A hand sanitizer should be 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% distilled water and glycerine to be effective against viruses.

However, products being sold as hand sanitizers by hawkers on the street do not follow the given guidelines. In most cases, these spurious hand sanitizers are just coloured water mixed with spirit.

On June 29, a mobile court of Chittagong district administration conducted a drive at a chemical factory ‘AR Chattala Chemical’ at Dewanhat area in the city.

The mobile court found that the owner of the factory identified as Md Rashed was mixing and bottling toxic chemicals reserved in more than one hundred drums without any laboratory or chemist.  

The mobile court sentenced the factory owner to six-months in prison and fined him Tk50,000. The magistrate also seized toxic chemicals from the factory worth Tk20 lakh and sealed off the factory.

On July 2, a mobile court of Chittagong district administration fined a drugstore at Halishahar area with Tk2,000 for selling unauthorized and adulterated hand sanitizers.

On June 11, a mobile court of Chittagong district administration fined a business with Tk2 lakh and seized spurious hand sanitizer worth Tk2 lakh.

Hailing the ongoing drives against the adulterated and fake healthcare products, Chittagong Civil Surgeon Dr Sheikh Fazle Rabbi said, “Washing hands properly, following health regulations and using hand sanitizers is a big weapon to fight the coronavirus. The weapon will be blunt if the disinfectants are adulterated.”

Hossain M Imran, assistant director of Directorate General of Drug Administration told the Dhaka Tribune that obtaining permission from the drug administration is a must for manufacturing hand sanitizing items.

“Before the onset of the coronavirus, the use of hand rub was limited to the hospitals and the laboratories. But now the public use has grown due to the pandemic. At present there is no crisis of standard hand sanitizers in the market,” the official claimed.

“But taking advantage of the pandemic, some dishonest traders are manufacturing and marketing adulterated hand sanitizers. We have already intensified our vigilance and conducted drives at many factories of Chittagong,” he said.

“During the drives, we have found that the adulterated hand sanitizers are being manufactured without any laboratory or chemist. Different harmful chemicals and colours are added to the solution which will cause different diseases,” the official added.

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